My extended family lives over 15 hours away, which makes for a long road trip for our family to visit them. We always complete the trip in one day. I can’t tell you the number of times I use my rear-view mirrors to navigate the road on those trips. I rely on them to bring into view my blind spots, and everything in them. On more than one occasion, they saved me from an unfortunate collision.
What is a blind spot? It’s something others can see about you that you can’t see. The ill effects of ignoring blind spots can be serious and damaging. This doesn’t apply only to driving, it applies to life and especially to leadership.
Strong leaders are quick to identify and remove their blind spots to ensure success.
3 ways leaders can identify and remove their blind spots.
Be Self-Aware. Sometimes, becoming self-aware requires outside help. That is why professional athletes and executives alike benefit from hiring a coach to assist them. In the training that I do with companies and individuals we address the strengths of each personality type as well as the weaknesses of each type. Every personality type has certain Achilles heels, or weaknesses that are natural to their type. Understanding this can be the first step to removing a blind spot. Leader-types are naturally strong in hard-people skills so they need to learn soft- people skills. Free-spirits are naturally creative and flexible so they need to learn organization and follow-through skills. Task-types are naturally process-oriented and stable so they need to learn to adapt to change and initiate change when necessary. People-types are naturally strong in soft-people skills so they need to develop hard-people skills. Awareness and identification is the first step to turning blind spots into learned strengths.
- Commitment to Personal-Development. The most important decision you can make to your success is a commitment to personal-development. Employ a variety of tools: read, listen to audio books and podcasts, get a mentor, hire a coach, join a mastermind group, and attend seminars. There are numerous ways you can develop and grow. If you aren’t actively working on developing as a leader then you are slowly becoming irrelevant and ineffective.
- Willingness to Change – No Excuses. Lose the pride. When you offer up excuses for your behavior, you’re not taking responsibility for them, and you lose respect. You’re still blaming circumstances or other people for your choices and actions. Strong leaders just accept responsibility, make appropriate changes and move on. They earn respect when they demonstrate this kind of humility and integrity. No one wants to hear the “why.” Just change! You need to take some time to explore your actions/decisions. Draw from them what you can to learn and grow but don’t take others on your personal journey of reflection. They don’t need to know your details, they just need to know what changes will be made and how it impacts them.
Blind spots can have a negative impact on your performance as a leader. Strong and effective leaders take definitive steps to identify and correct their blind spots for best results.
Question: As you move up in the organization, have you found fewer and fewer people are willing to be candid with you and give you honest feedback? How can you then identify and remove your blind spots?