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Are Your Biases Blocking the Message?


Are Your Biases Blocking the Message?

In recent client planning sessions, I've noticed a troubling trend: many leaders don't listen. Oh don't get me wrong, the leaders hear words. They hear the initial few words uttered by one or two planning team members, but they don't grasp the members' intended messages. Why? It's not because the team members don't speak clearly and it's not because the team members don't know what they're talking about. It's because the leaders aren't listening.

The leaders aren't listening to the team member's current message. Instead, the leaders' minds have jumped ahead and are anticipating the direction the team members' similar messages have taken in the past - and they've not been ones liked by the leaders. Therefore, anticipating more of the same, I'm seeing leaders interrupting their team members, stepping on the members' comments, and negating the members' ideas almost before the team members have finished speaking.

Needless to say, unchecked, the leaders' behavior can change the tone of the brainstorming or planning sessions and quickly transform them from open, energetic, idea-generating sessions, to subdued conversations with limited input and overwhelming tension. So yes I do my job of "checking" the behavior of the leaders and all team members to maintain an interactive environment.

However, most team meetings don't have an outside facilitator serving as referee and discussion leader. Therefore, leaders, it's up to you to gauge how your biases may be enhancing or hindering your team's planning sessions. Are your biases overshadowing ideas that could propel your organization forward? Are your biases towards individual team members causing you to not listen to their concerns or ideas? Are your biases causing you to block messages that could transform the way you, your team and your entire organization operate?

Are your biases blocking your leadership duties?

Besides, if you have a team member or members who have historically had so many bad ideas or are so disruptive that you immediately tune them out, why are they still working for you?



Copyright MMXII - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC – +1.717.597.8890

Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. Learn more about me on LinkedIn!

Liz Weber CMCLiz Weber, CMC CSP

Liz Weber coaches, consults, and trains leadership teams. She specializes in strategic and succession planning, and leadership development.

Liz is one of fewer than 100 people in the U.S. to hold both the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) and Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designations.

Contact Liz’s office at +1.717.597.8890 for more info on how Liz can help you, or click here to have Liz’s office contact you.

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2 thoughts on “Are Your Biases Blocking the Message?”

  1. Liz, a timely and accurate post.

    It is a true sign of leadership when leaders stop to recognize and reflect that their biases (we all have them) might interfere with how effective they could be! Seasoned leaders know that there is a big difference between hearing and listening and they stop themselves from reacting when something they "hear" blocks them from truly listening.

    Love your blog!


  2. Liz Weber says:

    Thanks to reading & taking the time to comment Carol! Much appreciated. So true that seasoned leaders know how to do this, but it's typically taken them several years and several gaffs before they learn the "habit."

    Thanks again - Liz

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Posted by Liz Weber CMC on January 17, 2012 in Leadership Development and tagged , , ,