The unpredictability of life is one of the reasons why living it can be very exciting. We never know what will happen next.
However, it’s also because of this unpredictability that many people struggle. Aspiring leaders find it hard to adapt to unexpected changes and become ineffective in their roles as a result.
Fortunately, all is not lost. There are 14 NLP presuppositions that we can apply to become better leaders. NLP stands for Neuro-linguistic programming, and these presuppositions are languages, thoughts, and patterns of behavior that are used by successful individuals to attain certain goals. These NLP presuppositions can help us strengthen our leadership capabilities, manage difficult people, and develop more effective strategies for problem-solving.
With regular practice, it won’t be long before we can adapt to the challenges of life and even come to use these challenges to our advantage.
Listed below are 14 NLP presuppositions every aspiring leader should take note of.
1. Respect for the Other Person’s Model of the World
The first presupposition is the foundation of all other presuppositions. As a leader, it’s vital to show respect for colleagues, regardless of whether their opinions clash with ours. Individuals have unique traits, and leaders should accept these rather than forcing them to change or telling them that their stance is wrong.
Respecting other people’s views, opinions, and beliefs makes them feel safe and encourages them to express their ideas to the team. As a leader, understanding this concept makes it easier to work with other people and harness their skills for the advancement of the team.
2. Behavior and Change Are To Be Evaluated in Terms of Context and Ecology
In relation to the first presupposition, it also follows that individuals have different definitions of what is good or bad, and right or wrong. What seems like a good option for one doesn’t always mean that it’s also the best option for others, and vice versa.
Another presupposition that we should incorporate in our lives is to avoid looking at every situation as good or bad, and right or wrong as this is very subjective. Instead, we should dig in deeper and understand why individuals choose a certain route.
For instance, before we jump to conclusions and think that a person using drugs is a menace to society, we should think about the reasons why they’re doing drugs in the first place. Once we understand the context of other people’s behavior and choices, we can suggest other courses of action that can be better for us, the person involved, and any larger entity.
3. Resistance Is a Sign of a Lack of Rapport
The diversity of other people can become an issue for leaders. People sometimes resent when rules and instructions are given to them. But when we follow the NLP presuppositions, the diversity of these individuals shouldn’t become an issue, as long as we know how to build rapport with them.
Clients who seem resistant are often not responding to how we are communicating, rather than rejecting our ideas. To counter this, we need to be more flexible and effective communicators to build a rapport with the client.
Building rapport as a leader is important because the more we influence other people, the easier it is for them to follow the instructions. This works because creating an impact in other people’s lives through rapport encourages them to trust us, and eventually, our leadership.
4. People Are Not Their Behaviors
How people behave is not a reflection of their identity. If someone often jokes around, we shouldn’t label them as the joker. If someone can’t finish a task on time, this doesn’t mean that they’re inefficient in their job.
We should keep in mind that people and their behaviors are two different things, and as leaders, it’s our responsibility to improve their behavior while accepting them as a person. We should never label anyone based on how they act in certain situations, as this prevents us from truly knowing and understanding that person.
5. Everyone Is Doing the Best They Can With the Resources They Have Available
There are times when people’s choices irritate us and cause us to jump to conclusions. For example, if someone turned down a job offer, we might think that this person is ungrateful or too proud to work for someone else.
However, if we follow the 5th NLP presupposition, we can understand that the reason for someone’s behavior is because they’re doing the best they could in the situation. If they refuse a job offer, they might have accepted a better one or plan on delaying employment for other pressing matters.
When we trust that other people are doing their best and adapting to situations with good intentions, we can easily approach them and provide resources to help them achieve their goals.
Technical professionals often have problems in fixing their people skills because of insecurity and poor communication skills, but keeping in mind that people are always doing their best in every situation can help address the problem.
6. Calibrate on Behavior
Leaders are expected to know a lot of things about their team members — and we can easily achieve this goal by calibrating on other people’s behaviors. This simply means that as NLP practitioners and aspiring leaders, we should take cues from how people act and use this information to look for patterns or any physiological sign that can help us determine any changes.
By doing this, we can identify problems and help a person change for the better.
7. The Map Is Not the Territory
As leaders, we should understand that people have different experiences and interpretations of these experiences. This means that their ideas of the world (their maps) aren’t the reality or complete picture of what’s happening (the territory). Further, their words aren’t always a clear representation of what they represent either.
Two people can go through the same things in life but still have different experiences, meaning our map of the territory can be different even if we have the same territory as other people.
8. You Are in Charge of Your Mind and Therefore Your Results
This NLP presupposition talks about accountability and how we should own up to the results of our actions and decisions. If we weren’t able to meet a certain goal in our life, we should change our mindset and actions to have better results. Everyone is responsible for their own thinking and the results of that thinking.
9. People Have All the Resources They Need To Succeed and To Achieve Their Desired Outcomes
Humans are capable of doing a lot of things, yet not all of us attain the same results or achievements in life. The reason? It has nothing to do with personal resources and everything to do with having a resourceful state.
Regardless of how smart someone is, if they’re in an unresourceful state, they won’t achieve any of their goals. When translated into leadership, the resources we give to our team are useless if they’re always in an unresourceful state.
10. All Procedures Should Increase Wholeness
Conflicts are common in teams because members often have opinions that clash with others. To become effective leaders, we should make the most out of these conflicts by reconnecting and repairing any disconnects or miscommunications within the team. Keep in mind that disputes usually start with positive intent and desire for the same outcome.
By integrating conflicts, we can increase wholeness and eventually form congruence within the team.
11. There Is Only Feedback!
Regardless of how much we try, there are instances when we fail in life. But according to the NLP presuppositions, there’s no such thing as “failure” in life, only feedback.
We can use our inability to achieve certain goals in life as feedback telling us that we should seek another course of action to have better results. By changing our mindset and turning negative experiences into something positive, we attract different and better results from our efforts.
12. The Meaning of Communication Is the Response You Get
To communicate effectively with other people, it’s not enough to simply convey your message to them; you should make sure that they understand what you’re saying.
This presupposition means that the success of the message you communicated is measurable by the results you get. If you instructed your colleague to finish a task and they delivered it, then your message was successful. If they submitted output but done so weeks after the deadline you’ve set, then the message you’ve communicated with them was ineffective.
13. The Law of Requisite Variety
As leaders, flexibility is crucial. The more flexible we are with our team, the easier it is for us to manage a team and become effective leaders. Whatever system or person is the most flexible in what it can do is ultimately the piece that controls all the others.
14. All Procedures Should Be Designed To Increase Choice
Having lots of choices in life makes us feel empowered and free. Being able to experience these things should motivate us to remain open and flexible all the time to have even more choices in life. We should never restrict ourselves as this only prevents us from having choices.
Applying NLP presuppositions in our lives requires time, so it’s important to be patient in our efforts. We might feel discouraged at some point in the process, but if we want to improve ourselves as leaders, we should stay focused and determined in achieving our goals by using NLP presuppositions in our lives.
Aside from incorporating all of the NLP presuppositions presented in this article, our efforts to become effective leaders are more successful when using reliable sources, such as my book “The Smartest Person in the Room: The Root Cause and New Solution for Cybersecurity.”