A company owner said to me recently, “when you hold a position of power, you can be deceived into thinking that you know more about the topic than you actually do. People act as if you know more because you are the boss”.
The expectation that you know more than what you actually do can lead you to have an inflated view of yourself and affect your ability to understand what they are saying.
You may, in fact, have no real experience of what the other person is talking about.
Furthermore, your position of power may be challenged, even subtly, by what the other person is saying and you may become unconsciously defensive, protecting your own status without realising it.
This lesson was brought home to me in a conversation I once had with my teenage son. (He was not affected by the status difference in this conversation). We were discussing the relative difference between him and me as father and son; and the difference between me and my father when I was his age. I naturally assumed that the difference between me and my father was greater than the difference between me and my son because I spent more time with my son than my father did with me. It was only when I stopped and really listened to him and later read some of the articles he sent me that I realised how wrong I was.
I had assumed that my view was correct because I was the parent and he was the child.
When you are in a position of relative power, be aware of the way the other person might assume you know more than you do and adapt the way you listen.
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