Mastering the Essential Qualities Of A Great Leader

Mastering the Essential Qualities of a Great Leader

Recently, I committed a very common mistake and I’d like to share with you my post-mortem reflections. Someone showed me 3 graphs;  velocity across a number of sprints, $ per story point and team happiness and asked if this is a representation of a healthy or unhealthy situation.

I  looked only at the top graph (velocity), then jumped in prematurely and provided an answer.

Whether it was a correct or incorrect answer it’s completely irrelevant. What matters is the process of forming an opinion.

First of all, I knew nothing about this particular situation. I had absolutely no insights nor data with the exception of what was presented to me.

And despite knowing better and understanding very well the danger of looking at one set of data in isolation, I formed my opinion, looking only at that first graph. I also didn’t bother to look at or ask about the scale of the graph to understand if the fluctuation was 10% or 50%+.

Most importantly, instead of asking further questions, to understand the situation and be in a position to assess it most accurately, I jumped to conclusions. And what’s worse, I brought my own personal bias. I had a déjà vu and let my past experiences  enter the conversation, which might have completely blinded me and misled me .

Managers are supposed to form opinions and make decisions  – the communication generally is one sided. Leaders are meant to seek the truth and I definitely failed on that front.

Leaders are meant to be genuinely curious in their pursuit of the truth and ask questions, seeking more information, before forming opinions and providing answers.

They are self- aware of their own bias and subjective thinking and don’t let that cloud their thinking.  They are also cautious not to be judgemental.

So, I am disappointed with myself that I again fell into that trap. However, the good news is that I reflected a lot on that event and analysed my reaction. I am aware that I am biased and highly judgemental as this graph brought some past memories, from some of my experiences. I generalized, in my head, based on my implicit associations.

I quickly followed a pattern of generalisation. I generalised over specifics because that took up less space and effort for me and was more cognitively manageable.

I generalised based on the beliefs I created subconsciously, which were based on my past experiences.

Basically, I committed all the mortal sings of a poor leader.

Well, tomorrow is a new day…

Interested in finding out how we can support you further? 

Email us to explore possibilities!

Share this post