The Flawed Assumptions in Leadership Communication

Coming to realize (or know) what we are blind to can be very empowering and motivating to the teams you lead. It provides them a space to add value, a space for the contribution of their strengths in confident vulnerability. It is the transparency and humbleness of the leader’s demonstration of confident vulnerability that creates room at the table for everyone to shine with their own contributions. Where communication and expectations are clear and we celebrate everyone’s contributions.


“Statistically speaking, there are only weak correlations between how others see us and how we believe we are seen,” notes social psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson in No One Understands You and What to Do About It (Harvard Business Review Press, 2015).

Without realizing it, when we communicate as leaders, we are likely operating under two flawed assumptions:

  1. Other people see and understand you objectively as you are.
  2. Other people see and understand you as you see yourself.

Neither belief is true. It is unrealistic to think that you may be an open book – you are much harder to understand than you imagine. You will always be somewhat of a mystery to others, even if you think you are making yourself known. However, by integrating a strengths based culture into your work environment you can somewhat mitigate this.

People tend to over estimate how well they understand others. This is a manifestation of the “illusion of transparency”. Great communicators will go the extra mile to understand their audience and to clearly articulate what they feel, need or expect rather than assume others will deduce it.


Great Communicators go the extra mile to understand their audience and articulate clearly. Click To Tweet


How ‘Judgeable’ or Transparent Are You?

Some of us are more ‘knowable’ or transparent than others. Leaders who are intentionally transparent about their strengths and weaknesses can express themselves in ways to be understood. Psychologists refer to this as ‘judgeability.’

Introverted and extroverted leaders who reveal their strengths and weaknesses are on equal ground in being understood. To be well-rounded and successful, we need the strengths of the others on our team. It is a place of confident vulnerability in how you are in relationship to others.

What is your experience with confident vulnerability and working with your strengths? I’d love to hear your experiences –  contact me or let’s connect on LinkedIn.


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