“Because that one client loved this, I’m sure everyone else will, too.”
“I don’t want to bother him with this question.”
“I can’t stand this kind of work; I can’t possibly ask someone else to do it.”
Ever said something similar?
As leaders, we make the mistake of making assumptions all day long. Unfortunately, this approach to leadership comes back to bite you. Hard.
You assume Amanda has too much on her plate to take on a new project or attend a conference. So you double your workload and miss the new connections from the conference. All the while, Amanda is itching for a new challenge and some fresh perspective. (Ouch.)
Or maybe you hear from Austin how much he needs this very specialized program you could offer. So you put all of your marketing eggs in this basket only to find out that this problem was unique to Austin. And now you’ve spent your entire budget promoting a program nobody else needs. (Ouch again.)
Want a simple way to avoid the bite?
Stop assuming, and start asking.
Stop making assumptions. Period. If you have a hunch, a theory, prove it to be true by asking questions.
Ask your key clients what their needs are before assuming how you can meet them. Ask your team members if they are interested in tackling something new before you add it to your own to-do list. Ask your boss/mentor/admired colleague when would be a good time to seek their advice before you assume you will be bothering them with your questions.
Stop assuming. Start asking. Your success rate will soar, and your bite rate will decrease dramatically. (Thank goodness.)
What question do you need to start asking today?
Julie Pierce is passionate about two things: empowering leaders to change the world and pursuing pie perfection. Julie is a leadership coach, consultant, and communicator. Sign up here to receive her posts and Friday Favorites email in your inbox. You can also follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.