Do not make assumptions, ask questions!

Today I would like to concentrate this post on the assumptions we make daily. We assume that many information we receive are true, unless very disruptive. We assume we are right and the other wrong. We assume that we know the reasons that pushed an employee to act the way he or she did. We assume that at the end of the month we will still possess what is ours today. All those assumptions make us feel safe and comfort us in our habits. In the end, we do not try to understand the world around us because, well, we know it. This is also true for organizations as they are the concentration of men and women working with the same goal, at least we hope.  I invite you for a second to consider the existence of assumptions in your personal and professional life. What assumptions do you make and what are their impacts?

Unfortunately, when we work on automatic thinking we end up:

As you may guess making too many assumptions can be dangerous for organizations. They may not see the danger coming or ignore it. Remember the Titanic was supposed to be unsinkable and engineers assumed they built the best boat, ever. As we all know the Titanic sank in the night between the 14th and 15th April 1912. Furthermore, organizations may discriminate a part of their employee because they assume to know what is good for them. When people do not questions their assumptions they are more inclined to impose their thoughts and decisions to change or remain in the same comfortable place.

Nowadays, we realize the importance for leaders to consider their employees and to connect with them. How could you possibly connect to employees if you make assumptions? It prevents you from knowing them. A good way to get out of your “Assumption zone” is to realize that you are making assumptions and ask for more information to yourself and others. You may assume that your employee wants a day off per month because he is lazy. What would happen if you try to find out why? (without being intrusive but this is a subject for a future post). The employee will give you more information that will break your assumptions into pieces or consolidate them. Understanding the need behind the request help to not judge the person. There are few opening questions that could help you get closer to reality, such as:

Obviously, connecting with a person requires more than just asking questions. It requires care. You should attempt to create a genuine relationship. One thing you have to accept is that your employees may not fit to your assumptions, that their desires may differ from yours or your assumptions, that employees are simply different from you. You should accept that no one can enter in any box you ever created to interpret the world. Assumptions prevent you from discovering differences that make every person unique.
Be mindful and try as much as possible to stop judging the person in front of you because this leads back to the starting point: assumptions. When it comes to people no assumptions are valid, you simply have to ask questions.

Here is a SlideShare I made after a Google Hangout I had with +Adelheid Hörnlein & +Margherita Crystal Lotus.

Here is the video of the Google Hangout

Thank you for reading! if you care, share. 

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