You come across books that get you thinking and changing your mind every once in a while. Jennifer Garvey Berger’s “Unlocking Leadership Mind Traps” was the book that made a lasting impression on me.
Jennifer was my first introduction through an online course (The Art of Coaching Developmental Coach). Jennifer was an instructor. I found her engaging and deep in her views and facts about adult and leadership development.
To quote Jennifer Garvey Berger:
“We live in a strange and paradoxical time in the world. The massively increasing complexity of the world around us could cause us to grow faster, more compassionately, more together, or make us more defensive, hardened, and smaller.”
It is clear that the world we live and work in is increasingly complex. We are also challenged to deal with the “outside” complexity.
Jennifer refers to five Mind Traps in her book. It is a belief that people act as though the world is easy when it is actually quite complicated. Recognizing these mind-traps in our own selves can help us see the world through a wider lens and give us more resources to deal with its complexity.
These are the five Mind Traps.
1. Simple Stories
We love our stories. Stories are often told with heroes and villains. We are often the hero and the villain in a report. Our problem-solving nature is prone to taking shortcuts, so the story is cluttered with our biases and beliefs. Simple stories limit us and assume a specific outcome based upon the past. You can expand your account by considering the other characters in it. What makes them a hero?
While our sense of being right allows us to be decisive, it can also kill curiosity and openness. It is possible to confuse feeling right and to be correct. Ask yourself, “What do I believe? And how can I be wrong?” There will always be two sides to any situation. It is a good idea to explore the other side. Listen carefully and learn not to fix or win.
Our DNA is programmed to connect to others. Our desire to belong and be touched is fulfilled by agreement. Sometimes we desire to belong so much that we are willing to compromise our differences of opinion. Because the pain of being socially isolated is the same as the physical pain felt in the body, we are wired to avoid it. This mind trap can be released by looking at how conflict might serve to strengthen a relationship. You might also find that disagreeing can lead to new ideas and thinking.
Feeling happy is directly related to your sense of control. Good leadership is often associated with being in control. Sometimes, outstanding leadership means that we have to let go of power in order to achieve better outcomes, mainly when dealing with complexity. Think about what you can do to help others instead of making things happen. Or, what could I/us do?
This is our sense of who and what we are. It helps us to function with purpose. Our thoughts, experiences, and beliefs have shaped who we are today. The problem is, we tend to be more protective of who we are now than what we want to become. Although we believe that we have improved in the past, it is likely that our future will not be any different. We want to be the best version of ourselves. To truly grow personally, it is essential to look at the road map of your own development and ask yourself, “Who would I like to become next?”