One of the biggest errors made by many of those in leadership positions is what I often refer to as being “leadership myopic.” Leadership myopia is the condition where someone only sees a situation from a very narrow and one- sighted perspective, often not taking into consideration others points of view or perspectives. Anais Nin wrote, “We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.”
When leaders overlook the points of view of others, including their concerns, needs, and opinions, organizations often suffer. Many leaders seem to confuse the need to make decisions and take action in a timely basis, with taking unilateral action without consultation.
Since no one individual ever has the whole answer, and organizations are dependent upon involvement of many volunteers, etc., overlooking their concerns often has a negative impact. Some of the issues that often arise because of seeing something from a limited perspective include:
1.Unilateral action often “turns off” certain people, who come to feel that no one is listening to their concerns. While a leader should make his own final decision, he should carefully listen to concerns of others, and weigh both the true and the perceived impact of that kind of action and behavior.
2.Only seeing a situation from one perspective opens up the possibility, if not the probability, of hurting the organization. A leader must evaluate all ramifications of a situation, and only looking at a situation from his point of view, opens up the very real possibility that an essential component may be overlooked.
3.As an example, consider someone organizing an event who has his own personal wants and wishes, and likes and dislikes. This person may change or alter events to his perspective, and although while pleasing him, may very possibly “turn off” others. An organizer has to make certain that he does not “push” his dietary favorites upon others, but creates something that would be widely enjoyed.
Another example regarding events is that a leader/ organizer must pay particular attention to perceived value, which is how possible attendees might perceive the value of certain components. I have seen many instances where an organizer makes changes because of his own biases, or preferences, while he should have made those decisions by taking the larger view.
4.Effective negotiating, an essential part of great leadership, requires understanding others needs so that you know what to ask for, and what others might be willing to be more or less flexible about.
There are so many examples in leadership situations where it is essential to be open- minded, and open ones self to the thoughts, needs, and concerns of others. When someone in a leadership position permits his own biases and views to be “the only views,” it invariably creates misunderstanding and disconcert.
By Bryan Oliver