The Gap Between Intentions & Actions
Now what I want to talk to you about is okay, well what gets in our way? Why is there this delta between how we intend to lead and behave, and then how we actually lead and behave? You know, what causes that gap? So let me ask you first, what do you believe causes this gap between how we intend to lead and how we actually lead?
Too much busy work in-between us and our associates. Little tasks that take us away from them.
Yep, yep, so too much busy work, and as a leader I'll tell you by the way that your most important asset is time. Right, and so, so many leaders today spend their time in the present. And what I'll say to leaders is how much time are you spending in the present? How much time you spending in the future? As we talked before about this common understanding that we have about leadership, it's a journey taking people somewhere. Well if you're not looking at where you're going, it's like a map, how you gonna get there? Right? What else, what else do you think causes thi...
Body language and delivery.
Body language and delivery. Okay, yeah, which is there's a disconnect between what they're saying and what you're visualizing, is what I'm hearing, okay.
Whether they're present or not when they're engaging with you.
Okay, yeah, okay that certainly. Anything else come to mind at what can cause this gap?
Business goals and objectives.
Business goals and objectives.
That pesky thing.
Right, that messy, messy thing, right.
Inconsistencies in your own behavior.
Inconsistency in your, inconsistencies in your own behavior, absolutely. So let me build on what you've just shared, and here are a few others that we'll add to this. One is, we're gonna go through each of these. One is how self-aware we are and our ability to reflect and see ourselves as others do. We may think we show up one way, right? And we may come out a totally different way as I've already shared with you in those examples okay? Second is how we unconsciously or consciously, unconsciously use our power and position. And we're gonna talk about power here in a moment. And then how accurately we assess our capabilities, and it's called the Above Average Effect, where we think we're better than we really are. So those are some things that can get in the way, that can cause this gap, from my experience. And I love this, Tasha Eurich, she's fantastic, and she says "My research has shown that 95", this is astounding by the way, "95% of people think that they're self-aware, "but the real number is closer to 10 to 15%." Just digest that for a moment, okay? So many of us think that we're highly self-aware right? So that means we're aware of our behavior, we're aware of our impact of our behavior, we think that we're really clear on our skills and capabilities and how we leverage the experience that we have. But the fact is there's this again this huge self-awareness gap that gets in our way. And I had to include this 'cause I love this where she says "A lot of times, the people who have the most room "to improve are the least likely to know." Right, so the people that may be, how do I say, not as effective, these are the people that really need to know that they really need to up their game. And I think we, I'm sure we know these people right? So self-awareness is a huge challenge. Second, is what's called power blindness. And what I've learned is that our power can actually blind us. So the position or the title that you have, and people in higher levels of positional authority and power, believe it or not, are three times more likely to raise their voice or yell at people in organizations. And so what I wanna do is I wanna share with you a great study on this, and it's called the Chocolate Test. Adam Galinsky and Maurice Schweitzer worked with another colleague at Northwestern University and they did something called the Chocolate Test. And what the Chocolate Test is, is they took a group of individuals and they split them up. One group they said okay you're the boss, another group they said you're the employee, and they created some experiences for them around, they gave them a description of their role as boss, which is basically they hold all the cards. And so they were acclimating their minds to what it's like to be a boss. And then for the employees, it was the opposite, it was you know, you gotta do what the boss says. And so they put them through this experience. And at the very end of the experience, what they did is they offered them some chocolate. And each piece of chocolate cost five cents. And for different individuals they said look, we're gonna let you buy some chocolate for other people. Other people they said, we're gonna let you buy some chocolate for yourselves. And here are the results. The boss, bought 32 chocolates for themselves and 11 for other people. What do you think it was for the employees?
The inverse, you are exactly right. So the employee, 14 chocolates for themselves, and 37 for others. Isn't that astounding? So what's the key takeaway from this? If you look at this chocolate study, what's your takeaway as you understand this?
The person who should've been looking out for others was more likely to look to themselves.
Yeah, yeah, in other words, what power can do in your positional authority is it can actually inhibit empathy. And empathy, by the way, is one of the most important leadership capabilities you can have. Why? As a leader you need to be able to see the world through others eyes, right? So in order for you to adapt, to be agile, navigate effectively, how do you put yourself into the shoes of your followers? So important to have empathy, okay? So important, I think you've all experienced this, I know I have, is you've been in a meeting, and you're with the most senior person who's in the room, okay? They're looking at their phone, okay? I think we've all had this experience, right? The most senior person in the room is looking at their phone while you're talking about something really important, okay? And by the way, if you're looking at your phone, they would be angry, frustrated, like how dare you do that to me, but it's okay for them to do it. So keep, it's astounding because I've been in so many of these meetings, and the most senior person in the room has no problem while you're talking about something important just looking at their phone. So again, you can lose perspective, and I'm sure as a leader, that's not their intention. Their intention is not to make other people feel like what they're saying isn't important. But that's exactly what they are doing. That they're saying I'm more important than you're not, okay? The above-average effect. Okay, that's the third component to so this gap, right? So as I mentioned, we can think that we're really better than we really are. It's why 93% of U.S. drivers put themselves in the top 50% of driving ability, okay? Um, it's, yeah, right, statistically not possible right? I'll give you another one around job performance right? They did this study with college professors. 68% of the college professors put themselves in the top 25%, okay? So we don't have an accurate picture around how we show up as leaders so, part of my message for you right, is on this is our experience, our expertise can inhibit your growth and open-mindedness. It and actually be an innovation killer. And so my message to you, my request to you is to recite this mantra all the time, we choose to be humble and hungry. Humble and hungry, there's always room for improvement right? And just like leadership and life, it's always a journey. As I've learned, because I've been in this field for a long time, there is always more to learn and get better at. And so to always just be humble and hungry, and especially in a position of power too, what you can do is even though you may have positional authority, just treat everyone as an equal. That's how you can protect yourself against this feeling like you're above somebody, just treat everyone almost as if they're an equal, and that can tamp down this power impact, if you will. So self-awareness, power, and how we can overestimate our capabilities are all drivers of this gap between our intentions and our impact.