Guest Blogger Ryan Jenkins of NextGenCatalyst explores the side effects of assumptions in the workplace.
There is a silent leadership killer that is running rampant in today’s multi-generational workplace. It’s a potent poison that can blindside the most seasoned of leaders. If not careful, any leader can fall victim to it’s unassuming wrath.
Why Your Assumptions Are Undermining Your Leadership Ability And What To Do About It
This silent leadership killer is…assumption. Time and time again I hear examples of leaders who make massive leadership mistakes by assuming too much and communicating too little.
Whether in our personal or professional relationships, assumptions get us in trouble. It’s easy to have a one-way conversation in your head that leads to a decision and then expect your peers or team to know exactly what your train of thought was on the decision. Assumptions rob others of the necessary clarity to get behind a decision, idea, or task.
Assumptions are particularly dangerous today as the world moves faster and faster. One generation’s assumption is another generation’s obsolescent. Many long held assumptions about how we communicate, lead, and work can become obsolete in an instance.
Another assumption pitfall to be wary of is assuming Millennial new hires know how to communicate, collaborate, manage time, and dress professionally. Keep in mind that Millennials are waiting longer than previous generations to get married, buy a house, and have children which has delayed their entrance into adulthood. In fact, many Millennials don’t consider themselves adults until they have their first child.
- Stop assuming Millennials know your communication preferences. Start clearly communicating.
- Stop assuming Millennials aren’t working if they aren’t in the office. Start managing output.
- Stop assuming Millennials want to be lead like previous generations. Start adapting your leadership.
- Stop assuming Millennials have little to offer. Start expecting more to get more.
- Stop assuming Millennials know better. Start coaching and mentoring.
One remedy for assumptions is to over-communicate. Assumption is ultimately a lack of communication. Assumptions serve as a communication shortcut. But often times critical information is bypassed when we try to shortcut our communication. Communicate often and clearly in order to kill any lingering assumptions and provide those around you with the clarity they need.
The old adage still rings true: If you assume, you make an “ass” out of “u” and “me.” Assumed leaders are doomed leaders.
Ryan Jenkins: Next generation keynote speaker and author who equips leaders and organizations with the next generation leadership, branding, and communication skills needed to thrive in today’s multi-generational marketplace.