Black and white thinking is the tendency to think in extremes

Have you ever been told your thinking was too black and white? That your mind-set was limited? That finding middle ground with you was difficult? That grey areas DID exist? Have you ever been called an extremist? Or that it’s okay to incorporate “maybe” or “possibly” into your vocabulary?

On the favorable side, it’s said that black and white thinkers are “great resources for personal growth and understanding”. Also, that they drive results and are needed for goal attainment.

As with any style or behavior, over-using a strength can result in a weakness.

Rebecca Joy Stanborough, MFA suggests being aware of our usage of certain words. How often do you say:

  • always
  • never
  • impossible
  • disaster
  • furious
  • ruined
  • perfect

If over-used, she shares that not only can you sabotage your career and relationships, but your physical and mental health may suffer. Wow!

Enter the grey area. Effective leadership includes building relationships, supporting goals, driving results, and seeking advice when needed, while also taking into account what’s good for your work culture, the people, and your organization.

Author Jody Maberry says: If you are a leader, working in the grey is your new normal.

How grey is your style? Do you tend to value processes and results over people and relationships?

Black-and-white thinking leaders are typically those who value processes and production over the individual concerns of the people.—Fred Jakoby, MA