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Leadership Bias – Ask The Right Questions To Accelerate Team Growth

Written by: Jessica Karl Rice, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Leadership plays a crucial role in shaping the growth and development of teams. Leaders are responsible for creating a positive work environment, setting goals and direction for the team, and providing guidance and support to their team members – a responsibility that emerging and experienced leaders can often find challenging. One of the most significant challenges leaders face is "leadership bias." It is easy for leaders to fall into the subtle trap of leadership bias, where they miss opportunities for team growth by not asking the right questions, making assumptions, and basing employee growth on their own experience. Leadership bias can devastate team effectiveness, talent retention, and efficiency.

group of young business men and women having a meeting at the boardroom

What is Leadership Bias?

Leadership bias refers to the tendency of leaders to make decisions based on their preferences and prejudices. Leaders may pay more attention to the strengths and potential of their team members and prevent them from tapping into the full potential of their team.


Impact of Leadership Bias on Team Growth

Leadership bias can significantly impact the growth and development of teams. For example, if a leader discriminates against a particular personality type, they may not provide opportunities for those individuals to contribute and grow within the group. Other biases can include underestimating an individual's growth potential, ability to handle specific tasks, or even trying to protect them from too much work, which can result in missed opportunities for the team to improve and progress, creating a hostile work environment for the individual who feels excluded.


How to Overcome Leadership Bias

To overcome leadership bias and create a positive work environment for your team, take on a coaching leadership style (CLS) and ask the right questions. CLS benefits groups and individuals by focusing on human potential and aligning with the company's shared vision. While CLS is one of the 12 leadership styles, it is one of the most challenging. By asking open-ended questions and actively seeking input from your team members, you can gain a deeper understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, and potential. Additionally, by encouraging honest feedback and dialogue, you can create an environment where everyone feels heard and valued.

Examples of questions to ask your team include the following:

  • What do you feel are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

  • What do you enjoy doing the most in your role?

  • What can we do to improve as a team?

  • What do we need to do to reach our goals?

Simply by asking questions, leaders can begin to understand their team's ambitions, unique talents, and abilities to perform in certain areas. Rather than presuming to know how someone may perform, leaders now have the opportunity to mold, encourage, and participate in the growth of their team in a completely individualized way.


How to Embrace and Deepen Your Understanding of Various Strengths

The concept of embracing individual strengths is familiar but should be capitalized on for maximum results. The StrengthsFinder Assessment has been helping individuals and teams alike to identify and develop strengths for over two decades. Capitalizing on an individual's strengths produces trusting teams, where they are seen for who they are and the talents they bring to the team. Learn about the Four Domains of Strengths to understand the breakdowns of where specific strengths reside. "Embracing individual strengths is the foundation for building successful teams. When each team member is allowed to play to their unique strengths, the team will perform at its highest level." ‒ Tom Rath, author of "StrengthsFinder 2.0" and the founder of the Clifton Strengths assessment.


New assessments are rising in recognition, such as the Principles You Assessment ‒ a psychology-based assessment on strengths and organizational focus, and PositiveIntelligence Saboteur Assessment ‒ a psychology-based assessment to bring awareness around a person's inner blockers (saboteurs) and sages (wisdom) to break through self-limiting barriers. These assessments further the notion that each team member contributes uniquely to their work and environment. They help individuals understand how to leverage their natural talents and strengthen their mental muscles in areas where they need growth.


Conclusion


Leadership bias can significantly impact the growth and development of teams. Overcome this bias and create a positive work environment for your team by asking the right questions, embodying a coaching mindset, and actively seeking input from your team members. By doing so, you can gain a deeper understanding of their strengths and potential and create an environment where everyone feels heard and valued.


Additionally, by embracing and deepening your understanding of individual strengths, you can develop trusting teams that are allowed to play to their unique talents. Ultimately, this will lead to improved performance and outcomes for the entire organization.


The task of overcoming leadership bias is certainly a large one, but it can be done with effort, dedication, and the right tools. By following these steps, your team can foster a culture of growth and development that benefits everyone.


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Jessica Karl Rice, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Jessica Rice is a coach, strategist, and entrepreneur who works with leaders, creatives, and business owners. After going through a series of life threatening experiences, she learned how to overcome obstacles and empower herself to push beyond the fear to discovering her life passion and purpose. She is dedicated to helping others push beyond the boundaries and explore their calling. Her online Vision Creators Community focuses on empowering women to rise up and pursue their dreams. Owner of Rowan and Hazel Coaching, providing executive vision and transformation coaching and brand strategy services, and Rowan and Hazel Co., a women's empowerment brand. You can reach her at: jessica@rowanandhazel.com

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