When Kate joined the leadership team, she compared herself with her male colleagues who all appeared confident and knew what they were talking about. On the other hand, she was often in the grip of self-doubt. She privately concluded that she did not measure up to their standards. Like many of us, she took the worst view of herself and the best of others to arrive at her conclusion.
Nobel Laureate, Daniel Kahneman, in his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow describes Kate’s assumption as ‘fast’ thinking where, what we see is all there is. We have strong views about complex problems and we do not allow for what we don’t know. When there is little information or it is of poor quality, in fast thinking we generate the best story we can and that narrative determines our confidence. Kahneman believes that about 97% of our thinking is done this way.
Kate needed to employ ‘slow’ thinking, which is deliberate and conscious, rational thinking designed to make deeper evaluations and seek new and missing information to make her decision. About 3% of our thinking is done this way. The point she had been missing was that she was reluctant to be in the limelight because of her self-doubt and that was holding her back. She was now ready to break through her self protective bubble. She took on being a woman of substance; an adult view of herself as someone with unique value. Interestingly, she now realised that her male leadership team colleagues also had their own self-doubts and that she had been comparing herself based on insufficient and inaccurate information.
She is now acknowledged as a key member of the leadership team and has built a reputation as someone who makes things happen. She is seizing leadership, not asking for it and people are listening to her. She does not feel like a fraud anymore. She has given up her lack of self-belief and has stopped second guessing people and making assumptions.
Are you making assumptions that do not serve you?
Best regards, Brian
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