6 Ways Leaders Can Recognise When Their Worldview Hinders Progress

By Heather Campbell

Heather here!

In the ever-evolving business landscape, leaders must continuously adapt to change and embrace new perspectives to drive success. In recent years, you’ve led through economic crises, the global pandemic, changing work patterns, technological leaps, diversified expectations from the workforce…there’s no time for paradigms to embed any more, is there? Paradigms are our deeply held worldviews, developed from early years and so familiar to us that we can struggle to even recognise they exist.

And that’s why they can so easily trip us up and derail our behaviour as leaders, as I explored last week.

While it’s true that leaders are constantly challenged to make radical changes in their thinking and working practices, this doesn’t mean that paradigms change that much. And it’s often the deeply embedded, personal ones that trip us up the most. Recognising when our paradigms are getting in the way is crucial for personal, team and organisational growth.

But how can we even be aware of these deeply engrained worldviews? How can we know that they’re getting in the way?

Here are my top tips on how we can recognise that our paradigms are getting in the way and so making life more difficult than it needs to be.

1. Being strongly convinced that we are right…
…Without factual evidence to support our case. A key point to note here: it’s common for us to mistake our opinions for facts, so do take time to question just how accurate your ‘facts’ are

2. Finding it impossible to see how others could ‘see it any other way’…
…And so dismissing their point of view or accepting it as valid

3. Getting into the same argument with someone…
…Repeatedly – even to the extent that we seem to have an almost identical conversation each time

4. Seeing the situation as right or wrong…
…Depending on whether or not it accords with your views – and so ignoring the many shades of grey that are present in most situations

5. Continually working with the same set of models, data or people…
…Rather than encouraging a culture of diverse thinking and debate

6. Becoming defensive…
…When your viewpoint is challenged and feeling people are getting at you

The quicker you can recognise that your paradigms may be tripping you up, the easier it will be for you to take action to manage them. This way, you’ll avoid a lot of unnecessary conflict, create a more open culture and build your positive impact.

That’s why recognising when paradigms are getting in the way is an essential skill for leaders aiming to guide their organisations through a constantly changing business landscape. Next week, I’ll share with you how to manage your paradigms when you do become aware of them. After all, knowing they exist without any action as a result won’t lead to beneficial results for anyone.

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