“I don’t like that man. I must get to know him.”

This Lincoln adage adroitly captures, both as a man and a leader, his conscious awareness of how jumping to a quick judgement may preclude him from considering advice or expertise offered by that individual in the future. Lincolns’ war time cabinet was a reflection of his own personal strength of character and capacity to bring together individuals whom had previously competed against him on the political stage.

As a modern leader, are you conscious of your own biases and behaviours? Do you understand how they influence you, your interactions, and your decisions?

Unfortunately, we can all agree that “first impressions last” and consequentially this tends to drive how we assess those we engage with and interact with throughout our day. Depending on how you assess those interactions sets in motion a number of judgements on an individuals’ capabilities and their value to you, your team and/or your organisation.

Rushing to rash decisions based on incidental stimuli may result in you precluding a valued perspective/opinion from an important discussion or decision. What if that person is your head of talent management and you don’t like them? How heavily do you weigh their contribution as a result of your personal feelings? What are consequences of doing so?

So here are some factors to consider when you make a quick assessment:

  1. What was your emotional state you met them? A positive or negative emotional state dramatically impacts how you perceive an interaction went. They also differ in how you both record and recall the events as they happened, in other words, how you store it on your long term memory banks, and how you retrieve it, is impacted by whether or not you are experiencing positive or negative emotions at the time.
  2. Remember everyone deserves a second chance. In fact, they deserve more than a second one. We all have good days and bad days, we naturally flourish in certain circumstances and environments. Therefore, take the time to vary the situations and circumstances under which you deal/interact with that person you don’t like you may see a different side to the same person.
  3. Place the interaction in context. What was the situation you found yourself in with this person? Understanding this can provide some enlightenment as to why things went the way they went. Be aware of the influencers, stressors and additional ingredients that impacted the interaction.
  4. Stop and pause before you make a judgement. A mindful minute is empowering and enabling.

Ultimately, to lead positively it’s important to understand the components of your thinking and behaviours, and appreciate their impact and influence on you as a decision maker and a context creator.

Posted on October 6, 2016 in Behavioural Science, Insights, Mindfulness, Positive Leadership

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