The “Under-estimators”

With a new administration preparing to take office, it’s worth a look back to consider what happened in November. No matter who you voted for, there’s a huge leadership lesson here.

We all know most of the experts, polls, and public opinions were in nearly universal agreement that candidate Donald J. Trump’s ability to win the Presidency was impossible, or at a minimum, improbable. It was just too high a hill to climb – too many states to turn, he was too far behind and had too little experience. It’s no wonder that a significant portion of the American electorate was shocked at his victory, including many of his supporters. Those tremors are still reverberating in many circles today, and will be for the foreseeable future.

Let Me Zero in on This

Not long after his election, president-elect Trump met with many of the most recognizable and successful “Technology Titans” of Silicon Valley fame. The best description I heard of the meeting was that, “He met with a bunch of visionaries who didn’t see this coming!”

That’s the main point here. When you underestimate, you get surprised. No matter how smart you are, how high your position, or how confident you are in your data, models, or personal observations, experience, and opinions … you can still be wrong, very wrong.

Many workers believe their bosses have poor evaluative skills. It seems to be a common complaint. People think their leaders don’t really see what they have to offer, or what they could contribute if given the opportunity. (Why don’t you become the opportunity-giver this year?) When leaders under-estimate their people, workers become demotivated and resent their boss’ lack of insight, or confidence in them. Your judgements as a leader matter a lot.

If You Don’t Want to Fail

  • Don’t fail to discover what individual talents people have
  • Don’t fail to bring out their personal talents or utilize them
  • Don’t fail to encourage people to share their talents and expand their abilities

Top performers in every field don’t take things for granted. They get the most out of what they’ve got, and then some. They reach, stretch, and never stop improving. They bring out the best in the people around them. They encourage, support, and promote progress. They don’t get complacent.

It’s a good way to approach your work, and your life … and it’s especially timely to remember at the beginning of a new year. Don’t under-estimate how much you can get done as a leader this year.

– Jerry Strom

Twitter: @JerryRStrom. For more information about our leadership and team development programs, please visit . Join the mailing list to receive new articles as they are published. This article is based on research conducted for the *’The Relationships Report: The Linkage between Leadership and Relationships,’ by Jerry Strom & Company, Inc. Find ‘How Leaders Build Relationships at Work’ at short insights on Twitter at #RelationshipsRPT

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