You can see a situation more clearly when you haven’t got your nose in it. For that reason, when you gather information, you want to maintain some distance. Doing so helps you objectively assess the information you receive. You’ll be better able to see which questions you need to ask and to recognize who needs to be involved.
Gaining distance is easier said than done, for two reasons:
You are the one who has to remember to pull back and reflect. If you don’t build time to reflect into your decision-making process, it won’t happen.
You have a blind side — unknown biases or, worse, prejudices — that work against your decision-making. Chances are you are unaware of these biases in yourself but can spot them easily in others. To avoid being blindsided by what you can’t see in yourself, ask someone you trust to point out when you’re overlooking the obvious.
Your beliefs guide which cues you pay attention to and how you interpret them. Yet your views and perceptions are limited — limited by how much information you’ve had access to and the experiences you’ve acquired in your lifetime.
Keeping an open mind is a way to maintain a check and balance on your perceptions. It opens your eyes to what others see that you can’t. It also helps you be more effective. To ensure that you aren’t restricting information to only what you’re familiar with, follow these suggestions:
Remain curious. Approaching each situation with an inquisitive mind expands perception.
Notice when you are being defensive or feel compelled to prove that you’re right. Take these emotional reactions as signals that you’re thinking rigidly or feel threatened. They’re good indicators that you’re overlooking important information that can change how you lead.