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Mindful Leadership

Hindrance #3: Do You Ever Experience Ignorance, Confusion, Delusion?

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Together these three represent one hindrance. This hindrance is characterized by not seeing reality for what it is. Most people realize that they don’t know what they don’t know. However, people suffering with this hindrance believe they do know it all, and are often so convinced that they’re correct that it’s impossible to convince them that they might not have the right answer.        

Ignorance arises as a result of beliefs or views that aren’t founded on facts or correct information. It can also be indicative of a lack of clarity and a confused state of mind. As a leader, negotiating with others from a different culture and assuming that “everyone negotiates the same way” exhibits ignorance.

Confusion is closely linked to ignorance, and occurs when someone isn’t fully aware of something, such as a leader receiving conflicting information from competing sources, particularly if he/she has a bias about the source of the information. 

Delusion refers to maintaining inappropriate patterns or not believing the facts because you hold particular biases. A deluded mind is often stuck in the past and uses the past to predict the future, such as someone who believes they still hold the greatest brand or strategy, even though it’s no longer reality. In addition, a leader with a bias may refuse to see that a direct report they “like” is really not very competent and the team has had to compensate for them.

Like the other hindrances, ignorance, confusion, and delusion can cause great suffering when inevitably, reality strikes — such as bankruptcy, a restructuring, or when we are read the riot act.

 A way to know if you are experiencing this hindrance is to ask yourself, “Do I feel I know better than anyone else or do I think I am usually right?”  The response can be revealing and sobering.

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