How to Elevate Your Business by Improving your Open-mindedness

Open-mindedness in business is a crucial trait, yet one that’s often lacking. Leaders are praised for their ability to make snap judgments, but when it comes to people, we all have subconscious biases that get in the way of our accuracy. We might think we are good judges of character, but how often do we let someone’s character speak for itself?

An open-minded leader looks above her in an empty thought bubble.

Why Is Open-mindedness Important in Business?

When we think about unconscious bias, we tend to think of the obvious culprits, like racism, ageism, or sexism. However, bias can take many forms. For instance, according to Forbes, nearly 60% of American CEOs are over six feet tall, despite just 15% of men falling into this height category.

Why is that? Well, we tend to assume that leaders should be tall. We might not set out to promote tall men, but can we subconsciously assume that a tall employee is somehow more confident and capable?

Other types of bias also come into play in the workplace: affinity bias, or bias towards people who are like us; confirmation bias, or the likelihood that we will give more credence to evidence that already supports our beliefs; the halo effect, where we form an overall positive impression of someone based on just one of their traits; the list goes on.

These biases affect how we interact with employees and clients. However, if we can genuinely achieve tolerance in leadership, we can allow for various perspectives.

Open-minded leaders are more effective decision-makers. They can make more informed and well-rounded decisions by considering multiple perspectives and weighing different viewpoints instead of relying on instinct.

Furthermore, open-minded leaders inspire trust and respect. Employees of open-minded managers feel empowered to contribute their ideas and insights without fear of being instantly dismissed. Overall, this fosters a culture of innovation, collaboration, and growth.

How to Demonstrate Open-mindedness

Open-mindedness in business helps to mitigate the risks of bias, groupthink, and tunnel vision in the workplace, leading to better outcomes and improved performance. It is a quality that can be nurtured and improved over time. Here are just a few ways to cultivate open-minded leadership:

  1. Pay attention to your gut reaction. My grandfather told me a story as a boy, and the moral has stuck with me throughout my years as a coach. That moral was this: “The fault you see in others is probably your own.” When you have a negative impression of an employee or client, is it possible you’re reacting to something you dislike in yourself?
  2. Understand your bias. We all fall victim to unconscious bias now and again. The question is, which types of bias are you more likely to fall into? Ask for feedback from family, friends, and trusted peers about what blind spots they may have observed in you. Just be sure you can honestly accept whatever they say.
  3. Take a behavioral profile assessment. While profiling tests such as the DISC & Motivators or the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator cannot account for all the complexities humans contain, they can be a powerful scientific tool to help you understand yourself and how you think more thoroughly.
  4. Seek out different perspectives. Surround yourself with and engage others with disparate viewpoints. Listen carefully to what they say and what they are passionate about. Practice remaining open-minded while reading news articles about people you disagree with, politically or otherwise.
  5. Ask questions. Be curious about what other people think. Please don’t assume you know everything about what they believe and why. Ask them to explain their view non-confrontationally and genuinely listen to the answer.
  6. Trust examples, not thoughts. What we do carries much more weight than what we say. Look at the evidence for every truth you know about an employee or client. If their actions don’t match your philosophy, it’s time to reconsider.
  7. Be honest with yourself. A key component of open-mindedness in business is admitting that no one is perfect. If you acknowledge your flaws, you can stop holding others to an unrealistic standard.

Open-mindedness in business and leadership go together, but this trait doesn’t come naturally to everyone. A business coach can help you identify your blind spots and improve your ability to keep an open mind. Click on my contact form, fill it out, and schedule a time to meet me on a video call to work on your open-mindedness skills.

Coach Dave

Dave Schoenbeck
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