How many times have you heard the saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover?” We have heard it time and time again. Most people know how dangerous making quick judgments or assumptions can be. Good leaders live these words of advice in all aspects of their lives but can quickly get caught off guard.
Over the summer, I saw a beautiful photo of the ocean that was posted by a friend. When I asked her if I could use the photo for my leadership blog, she kindly agreed to allow me to use the photo but informed me the image was of Lake Erie. Humbly, I was reminded of the age-old lesson to not make assumptions. Of course, the Great Lakes, full of splendor and glory, are so large that all you can see are miles and miles of water. I was born and raised in Upstate NY and have seen the Great Lakes many times. Of all people, I should know that the Great Lakes, especially on a windy day, have the appearance of the ocean. I smiled immediately knowing my mistake while reflecting on how often I have made assumptions that may not have been as harmless as this one? As leaders, it takes a conscious effort to ensure we are leaving our assumptions, biases and judgments at the door. When we make assumptions, what are we missing? Like I did over the summer, dismissing the beauty of Lake Erie for what it is, am I missing value and talent within my organization?
What do you think? What do you do to ensure your leadership is not influenced by biases and assumptions? After my lesson over the summer, I make a conscious effort to look once, think twice…then look again. It may not be what you were looking for but there may be more there to see.
Photo of Point Breeze Lake Erie
Photo Credit to Patti Jacobs