Leaders Know the Thinking Rate is Fixed

An equation I’ve shared before:

p=P-i

If the product (p) we get is our potential (P) minus the interference (i), it’s helpful to identify the interference. One example of that is how some people react to being rushed to “think faster.”

Except, hurrying doesn’t work for everyone.

Have you ever been paralyzed when told to “hurry up” or “do more with less” or “just give me your first gut reaction?”

We WANT to hurry, do more, and/or give a quick answer, but being pushed to do so can make it all happen slower or not at all.

I read an article which shed light on this concept, and I highly recommend it.

As a society, we move fast. Amazon offers two day shipping, and in some areas, you can get your order in mere hours. On-demand TV with Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, Netflix, and Hulu. Fast food, fast cars, fast delivery (think Jimmy John’s). Ultra fast high speed internet and online gaming. Even our system of education is fast, with many high school seniors graduating with enough college credits to classify them as college sophomores. Our unconscious motto is “Faster is better.”

Our fast-moving societal bias and our societal bias toward extraversion are consistent with what I read in Quiet regarding the thinking styles of introverts compared to extraverts:

“Extroverts think less and act faster on [some] tasks: introverts are ‘geared to inspect’ and extroverts ‘geared to respond.’”

Cain, S. (2013). Quiet. Crown Publishing, New York.

Because of these differences in thinking styles, miscommunication and frustration are common when working with those whose style differs from our own.

So, how can you bridge the gap?

By developing or strengthening the following:

  • Self-awareness to know how you think.
  • Great relationships with the people you lead, so you understand how they think.

Then, reduce interference accordingly.

Gaps will always exist, so constant, consistent, and honest communication is key to working with others. We are all different, unique human beings. While this is good news, it also makes relationship-building, relationship-maintaining, and communication difficult. By working on how you can better align with the styles of others, you can make your job as a leader that much easier.

Thanks for reading,

Matt Pries

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