How to Neutralize your Bias

leading awarenessYesterday we began a conversation about John Adair’s Action-centered leadership model which states that, as a leader, you have three core responsibilities:

  • Achieve your Task
  • Build your Team
  • Develop your Individuals

I said I had two insights to share that I believe will help you use Adair’s model to become a more successful leader. The first was that the three areas are interrelated. The second is:

You have a bias toward one area

Depending on your personality and preferences, you’ll naturally gravitate toward one circle more than others. We all have a default.

For example, I know I have a tendency to focus on the needs of individuals over anything else. However, others are so concerned with their task, they lose sight of team and individual needs. Still others (like Michael Scott from The Office) are so preoccupied with team building they don’t seem to care about individuals and rarely focus on the task at hand.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with having a default. Problems only arise when you don’t realize or acknowledge your personal preference and as a result you begin to neglect other circles.

Once you realize which of these three circles is “downhill” for you, you can leverage that information to become a more balanced leader. Develop and implement measures to ensure you don’t get tunnel vision. Here are a few ideas:

  • Begin projects, meetings, and reviews with your least preferred circle—you’ll always find the time and energy to work on what you prefer.
  • Find, appoint, and authorize a watchdog (someone who prefers a circle you don’t) to sound an alarm when you begin to neglect your less-preferred circles.
  • Create an accountability system whereby you review the three circles at the end of each day or week to assess how you’re leading in each area.

Which circle do you prefer to work in? How do you ensure a balanced approach?

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