Whether you realize it or not, the way you see and perceive the world directly informs the actions you take in your small business. This is a universal truth. As Anaïs Nin famously said, "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." Your beliefs, often unexamined or unconscious ones, shape what you perceive as reality.
As a business coach, I help clients uncover blind spots. My team and I have worked with more than 10,000 senior business leaders and have developed a capacity to identify patterns of commonly held, unconscious beliefs that hold people back from being effective leaders. Once they uncover these blind spots for themselves, it's a game changer.
Here are three unconscious beliefs you may need to reexamine in order to become the most effective leader.
We are aligned.
But are you? Effective leadership in companies is highly dependent on alignment. Whether you have a team of 20 or 20,000, alignment is the toughest thing to achieve. When it's reached, magical results happen.
Prepping our clients for a session involves asking each team member to answer a set of questions and 99 percent of the time, we identify a lack of alignment.
In order to deal with misalignment in your business, you need to slow down and get everyone's buy-in for your vision and goals. This requires you to lead a conversation with your team that includes lots of time for all objections and questions. The process of talking it out until all concerns are addressed is key in reaching alignment.
I'm a great listener.
Actually, chances are you barely listen. Accepting this is huge.
The idea that we actually listen to people is probably the biggest blind spot in effective leadership. We often spend days teaching our business clients how to effectively listen--and these are all highly intelligent people leading big companies.
It's hard stuff to listen without adding judgments and distortions. It takes a lot of intentional practice to get good. The underlying issue is that, due to our internal dialogue (or monkey brain), the judgments and preconceived notions we hold get in the way of listening to what's actually being said.
For example, can you think of one person in your company that you labeled as difficult to work with? Through that lens, this person will now most certainly show up as difficult to work with. What this person says, or rather what you hear from them, is being distorted within the context of you thinking that the person is difficult. This will inevitably impact your effectiveness with this person.
So make it a point to be cognizant of when the monkey brain is active, and notice the way you label things. It will go a long way in elevating your ability to interact with what's really in front of you as opposed to your perception of what's in front of you. This is a huge difference.
Someone else is probably handling it.
Having this unexamined belief allows you to wash your hands of the responsibility for a problem you notice. For example, many leaders say when we start working with them that their company culture is not as strong as it should be. But have they truly taken steps to transform it?
That's another belief holding you back from leading your team and business. There is a big difference between responsibility and accountability. Realize that you may be responsible for your team and company, but have you truly embraced full accountability? When you do, and when you live by this concept daily, it will greatly elevate your leadership effectiveness and team performance.
Don't wait for something to be done for you. You must be the change you want to see in the world, as Gandhi famously said, or more specifically, the change you want to see in your team.