What Color Are the Filters in Your Leadership Telescope?

Leigh BaileyBy Leigh Bailey

AssessmentSeveral years ago I bought a telescope and the accessories to go with it. My favorite accessories were the colored filters that allowed parts of the visible light spectrum to pass through while others were blocked. Early on, I’d forget I was using a colored filter to view an object. Thus, I may have falsely believed that Mars was blue when in fact it is red!

At The Bailey Group, we use assessments to understand the “filters” through which leaders perceive their every day interactions and experiences. Filters in this case don’t have to do with colors but with aspects of their personalities, belief systems, strengths and weaknesses as leaders. Taken together, these filters make up a leader’s “structure of interpretation.”

Because each leader’s structure of interpretation is unique—based on genetics, developmental experiences and talents—each leader responds differently to situations he or she encounters. Some see conflict as a means to innovation; others see it as a painful and frightening experience to be avoided. Some find change invigorating; others find it unsettling. Some like taking charge and being in control; others prefer a more consultative style.

Awareness of one’s structure of interpretation and the ability to transcend it when required are critical for success as a leader. Leaders who have not cultivated this level of self-awareness are prisoners of their habitual thoughts, feelings and behaviors. This in turn reduces their versatility and ability to succeed when new ways of thinking and behaving are required. In other words, they may cling to a belief that their world is blue when in fact they are just seeing circumstances through a blue filter.

On the other hand, armed with an awareness of how they habitually respond, leaders are empowered to make new, more effective choices and therefore to grow in both competence and wisdom as leaders.

If you are ready to find out the color of your leadership filters, The Bailey Group can help.