What are you missing? Blind spots. We all have them… those personality quirks, weaknesses, and annoyances that create barriers for people around us. What are yours? You don’t know! That is why they are called blind spots. However, you NEED to figure out what they are if you want to grow personally, professionally, and take your team to the next level.
Blind spots are usually not huge, obvious issues that cause us to fail. Those problems people are quick to point out and identify. Blind spots are the things that make you difficult to work with. They keep co-workers from building trust with you. They cause your direct reports to avoid coming to you. They cause the leaders above you to not be transparent or fully engaged with you. Blind spots will cause your customers to prefer another sales person or vendor. They will drive your spouse crazy and make your home a difficult place for your children. We all have blind spots. Great leaders have others help them recognize and deal with their blind spots. Average leaders don’t even know they exist.
How do you find a blind spot?
1) Ask others. Tools like a 360-Degree Survey can be helpful but aren’t necessary. Ask others for honest and candid feedback. Do this of your peers, direct reports and managers above you. The key for this to be successful is they must know that they can be honest without any fear of retribution or you getting defensive.
2) Watch yourself. If you are a public speaker or performer this is especially helpful. Watch or record your work. What do you notice?
3) Surround yourself with people different then you. Don’t hire people like yourself. Join organizations or spend time outside of work with people of different professions, faiths and wold views.
4) Find a mentor or coach. Asking someone to invest in your life over the course of several months or years will be one of the greatest steps you can take to grow as a leader. Some blind spots aren’t immediately obvious. Some times it takes seeing a pattern of behavior over time to understand some of the most challenging and hidden blind spots in our life.
5) Ask your spouse. While this may seem similar to #1 it is not. No one knows you better then your spouse. Once again, you can’t get angry when they share what they see with you. This will not only help you at work but will make your marriage healthier too!
5) What are your strengths? While this may seem counter intuitive, our strengths can sometimes become our weaknesses if taken to the extreme. Every strength has a downside if not handled properly. What are you really good at? Have you thought about how that could be detrimental to your team or environment?
6) Create a culture of improvement. The most successful organizations are ones that are continually improving their products, services, systems and people. Create a culture where your team has permission to come to you and each other with any frustration or annoyance. Build trust so they know their job won’t be at jeopardy if they speak up. The most unhealthy teams are where people don’t feel safe to voice their opinions. Often times their greatest frustrations will be with a blind spot of their leader.
Question: Which step do you need to take to discover a blind spot in your life? What other ideas do you have for finding blind spots? You can leave a comment by clicking here.