Testing Assumptions

One of the greatest lessons I have learned in my leadership journey is that I often make assumptions by creating my own narrative between data points. These assumptions can lead me to draw wrong conclusions, make poor decisions, and have negative feelings toward others. As a leader or manager, it’s natural to want to make informed decisions quickly. However, we must be mindful not to make assumptions based on incomplete or inaccurate information unintentionally. Avoiding this trap requires recognizing our natural tendencies and testing our assumptions.

Filling in the gaps.

When faced with incomplete information, the natural tendency is to fill in the gaps with assumptions. To combat this, make a conscious effort to ask questions and gather as much information as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions, seek out different perspectives, and challenge your assumptions. By staying curious and open-minded, you’ll be better equipped to make decisions based on facts rather than assumptions.

Recognizing natural tendencies.

As human beings, we all have natural tendencies that influence our thinking and decision-making. These tendencies can include confirmation bias (seeking out information that confirms our existing beliefs) and the halo effect (allowing one positive trait or experience to influence our perception of an entire person or situation). By recognizing these tendencies, we can take steps to counteract them and make more objective decisions.

Testing your assumptions.

Testing your assumptions is one of the most effective ways to avoid drawing wrong conclusions. This means actively seeking out evidence that both supports and contradicts your assumptions. Look for patterns in the data, seek out alternative explanations, and consider the consequences of different outcomes. By taking the time to test your assumptions, you’ll be better equipped to make decisions that are based on evidence rather than assumptions.

Be willing to admit when you are wrong.

Finally, it’s essential to be willing to admit when you’re wrong. Nobody is perfect, and we all make mistakes. But a true leader or manager is willing to acknowledge those mistakes, learn from them, and make changes as needed. Admitting when you’re wrong demonstrates humility and a commitment to continuous learning and improvement.

Drawing wrong conclusions based on assumptions can be a costly mistake for leaders and managers. By filling in the gaps, recognizing natural tendencies, and testing your assumptions, you can make more informed decisions that are based on evidence. Remember to stay curious, seek out different perspectives, and be willing to admit when you’re wrong. Doing so will build a culture of trust and respect that will help you lead your team to success.

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