In my projects I could usually guess what the user thinks and wants, but in several cases, I wouldn't be accurate enough. That's why I practice user centered design against my natural way of thinking.
When I say natural, we come to the theory how I believe big leaders think:
Every profession is a combination of competence, reputation and vision.
As a designer, my job is to bring up the vision of the user need. In doing this, I might feel myself as a bad designer for the fact that I'm not competent to create the vision without asking the common people and I could believe that the fact lowers my reputation as a designer.
-In this respect being a designer is easy. Nowadays there is a managerial need for user centric design and you don't need to make excuses for their expert investment needing external support.
Being a big leader on the other hand, might not be as easy. I claim that employees are the information source for leaders, like users are for me. Unfortunately, there is no model for employee centric leadership - just the normal specialist model, managers on areas of engineering, markets and accounting try to keep up their good work and reputation by delivering insight, no matter how unsure that might be. And what would happen to the reputation of the leader, if someone heard the the grand vision is formed on regular workers opinions?
What would happen if we live based on the assumption that I cannot know - I'd better ask?
The natural bottle neck becomes the capacity of listening and finding out. The very same problem I face every day - just like different levels of management.