Assumption to Assurances in the workplace

Posted by Brenda Yoho

Over the past few years, our world has experienced uncertainty. We have been through a global pandemic leading us into a world of the unknown and many assumptions.

How can we turn our homes, workplaces, and communities from assumptions to assurances? What will it take for us to lead out of the crisis we continue to feel?

Assumption

When we make an assumption it is defined as: a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof. I tested this out with my middle school students one year when talking about making assumptions about others before getting to know them. Here was the example:

Each of the rooms had special speakers assigned to them. Students would rotate to each of the rooms. Once they arrived, they would get settled and the speaker would join the room. Students were then asked to answer questions about the speaker based on just how they looked.

“So what do you think I am good at?”

Students all began to raise their hands and each one said, Basketball.

“Oh, you think because I am 6’5 and black I can play basketball.”

Yes, all of the students shouted.

“Wrong, I have never played basketball very well. It was not my thing. I actually am a drummer.”

When we make assumptions based on surface level evidence and not hard evidence, we are making bad decisions. In order to make good decisions we need to base it on factual evidence. Once you have evidence then you can make a factual statement based on the information you have.

“Let me provide you with the evidence you need to base your decision.”

Assurances

During the past few years we have experienced traumatic events and a need to feel safe. When we have episodes like this, many times a great deal of assumptions begin to appear. People begin to feel uneasy, unsure and do not feel trust. It is when they need to hear assurances from leadership; a positive declaration intended to give confidence; a promise. It is the time when leaders need to listen to what is not said.

“Trusted servant leaders are the answer to today’s challenges.”(pg.136)-Simple Truths of Leadership by Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley. Building trust in your environment is a skill you work to build or it can quickly begin to erode. There are four ABCD model steps created to take and follow:

  • Able- Demonstrate compentence
  • Believeable- Act with integrity
  • Connected- Show care with concern for others
  • Dependable- Honor commitments

These come from the book Trust Works! Ken Blanchard, Cynthia Olmsted, and Martha Lawrence. It is also in Simple Truths of Leadership by Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley, page 77

Leaders need a plan! Every aspect of what is done needs to be done with an intentional plan. It is consistency, intentional and purposeful! The best way to begin with assurances is to be authentic and realistic in what those will be.

Have you been listening to the political ads? These are not examples of assurances individuals who you lead want to hear from you. Those are campaign talking points to gain votes. People working with you want to know with confidence what will happen, be provided, and is authentic. Please do not say it, promise it or forget to do whatever you have assured them you will do for them. Please make sure it is authentic.

I will

  • Provide time for others to share their thoughts with me
  • Maintain a safe, secure and professional work environment
  • Make a commitment to all of you
  • Listen to constructive feedback
  • Be encouraging
  • Have open conversations in regard to our standards
  • Provided direct feedback
  • Professional learning, training and development will be provided to everyone

The “I will” assurances can be what you want them to be. Maybe you sent an end of the year survey and you have data to be able to reflect from the survey. The leader you are is reflected in the assurances you provide, the words you speak, the actions you take and in what you do each day. Leaders are watched more than others. Walk that walk, talk the talk and keep the promises you make! This will provide all with the data they need to determine the assurances you have provided are not assumptions, but facts they can trust.

"I only have 2 rules!"
© 2023 Brenda Yoho
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