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11

Turning Down Your Contrast

Contrast

Turn Down Your Contrast

The more you lead, the more you may be accustomed to hearing and believing your own voice. And the more you may tune out other voices. Successful leaders, in particular, have the propensity to believe in themselves and their opinions to a great and perhaps dangerous degree. They turn the contrast dial up and up–toward their opinions and away from others’.

It’s helpful to remember the big picture. As a leader, you feel the importance of your role when you’re alone in your office. But you’re not alone. You likely live in a state with millions of people, a country of hundreds of millions, a world of 7 billion, and a universe of untold lifeforms and matter.

You may be more right and successful than most, but chances are you’re not the most right or intelligent. Even if you were, you could likely benefit from the input of others.

Don’t let your success or leadership stop you from learning from others. How might you lower the contrast, hear others, and see the big picture differently?


About the Author

Gary Cohen is a highly-skilled Executive Coach, Leadership Author, Trainer, and International Keynote Speaker. His clients range from entrepreneurial CEOs of the nation’s fastest-growing companies to executives of global 100 companies. He differentiates himself from traditional (psycho/therapeutic) executive coaches by bringing a vast amount of business experience as a former Founder / President of one the Nation’s Fastest growing companies. He is the author of Just Ask Leadership: Why Great Managers Always Ask the Right Questions (McGraw Hill). Gary B. Cohen Full Bio

  • http://twitter.com/rslewine Richard S. Lewine

    Well said, Gary. This may is particularly troubling in a school system since our kids are the ultimate recipient of this “wisdom’.

    • http://co2partners.com/blog Gary B Cohen

      Richard so true. Any wisdom on better ways to turn it down?

  • http://twitter.com/translationguy Ken Clark

    Being more right than most gives successful people the false idea that they are right all the time. Hubris is the biggest and baddest cognitive bias there is. 

    • http://co2partners.com/blog Gary B Cohen

      Ken, What have you found to be the best solution to moderate the contrast?

  • Michele Acker-Hocevar

    How does this factor into the leader’s philosophical orientation to decision making?  For me it suggests that the leader must ensure there are a number of counter views that weigh in on different topics.  What else might it suggest? 

    • http://co2partners.com/blog Gary B Cohen

      I think you are on the right track with your thoughts. You may look at Edward de Bono’s Six Hats you can connect with this via http://www.co2partners.com/blog/2011/01/ooda-and-it-is-not-a-type-o/ Additionally, you can think in terms of divergent questions to ask.

    • http://co2partners.com/blog Gary B Cohen

      I think you are on the right track with your thoughts. You may look at Edward de Bono’s Six Hats you can connect with this via http://www.co2partners.com/blog/2011/01/ooda-and-it-is-not-a-type-o/ Additionally, you can think in terms of divergent questions to ask.

    • http://co2partners.com/blog Gary B Cohen

      When you turn down the contrast you are turning down your level of importance. You are allowing the negative space to become more important. When you do this you begin to be more mindful of the whole rather than just the parts. One aspect of this is your suggestion that counter view are brought into focus. I would invite you to think about the language. Perhaps instead of counter it is alternative or even parallel views. 

    • http://co2partners.com/blog Gary B Cohen

      Don’t over-indulge yourself. Believe others may know as much if not way more than you do. It is not just counter views it is not seeing your view as the premier view. 

  • http://www.brainleadersandlearners.com/ Ellen Weber

    Great reminder here Gary and thanks for the inspiration to reach across diversity for new ideas. Would you agree that it’s often about combining intelligences and leading innovation in new ways so that you stir up the best talents in others. When this becomes the role of top leaders, wider talent follows, and the ONE HUMAN SHOW ends. Great post!

    • http://co2partners.com/blog Gary B Cohen

      Combing creativity and intelligence seems to be supported by recent brain research. Which shows that these two functions can be at different levels in people.

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