Scrubbing off the windows of assumption.

13 05 2014

“Begin challenging your own assumptions.  Your assumptions are your windows on the world.  Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” ~Alan Alda

Here are some assumptions that you, as a leader, might want to “scrub off” every once in a while:

  • I’m not qualified for that position.
  • My staff member, Jane Doe, just doesn’t care about doing a good job.
  • My peer in the next cubicle is daydreaming instead of working
  • My boss is hard on me because they don’t like me.

Note that the views above are in all 4 directions on the org chart (up, down, sideways, self).  After scrubbing them off, you might be seeing things like this:

  • What skills can my leader help me acquire so that I am qualified for that position?
  • Jane Doe hasn’t been challenged, and she doesn’t like to be bored, maybe I’ll give her a special project or 3.
  • My peer next door must be thinking about solving a big problem.
  • My leader is giving me that extra coaching because they see my inherent talent, and want to help me let it shine.

I find that it’s easier to assume the best of intentions, instead of the worst.  Even if someone is really criticizing you, stating back their words in a positive way might just scrub off their windows, too.  Who knew that you could be a leader, and a window washer, too?

Speaking of windows…


Rubes cartoons used with permission.




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