7 Ways For Leaders To Eliminate Blind Spots
Blind spots: every leader has at least one, but what makes the difference between a great leader and an average one is your awareness of this Achilles heel and your openness to modifying your behavior.
Before we dive into revealing seven ways to eliminate your blind spots, let’s just clarify what exactly is a blind spot.
I’m sure you are all aware that you have blind spots on your car when you are driving. These are the places where you can’t see what is going on around you. And the larger these blind spots, the more dangerous you can be on the roads.
Leaders have blind spots too. These are the things we do and behaviours we have that we don’t understand or appreciate the impact they have on others and on ourselves. If we don’t identify these blind spots and take action to remedy them, they can have a significant impact on our team and organisation. In the worst scenarios, our failure to identify our leadership blind spots can actually sabotage the success of the business.
In her book, Fearless Leadership, Loretta Malandro, PhD., identifies 10 behavioural blind spots that can derail leaders. These 10 blind spots are:
- Going it alone
- Being insensitive of your behaviour on others
- Having an “I know” attitude
- Avoiding the difficult conversations
- Blaming others or circumstances
- Treating commitments casually
- Conspiring against others
- Withholding emotional commitment
- Not taking a stand
- Tolerating “good enough”
So how does a leader eliminate these blind spots? The following seven steps will help; but please be aware that it takes courage to discover your blind spots, because no leader can identify their blind spots alone. After all, it is called a blind spot for a reason.
1. Assume you have a blind spot
Leaders who don’t believe that they have at least one blind spot are deluding themselves. We all have them, so embrace the fact that you do and be curious to discover what it is and how it is impacting those you work with.
2. Ask those that know you best to identify your blind spots
Getting a realistic external perspective on your own leadership is invaluable. Make sure you elicit feedback from people who will provide honest answers. After all, you don’t want your blind spots sugar-coated!
3. Openly discuss your blind spots with your inner circle
Your inner circle are those people that you implicitly trust and who will provide you with candid feedback. Discussing your blind spots with others can help you better understand the impact these behaviours are having on others, and help you find creative solutions.
4. Assume your blind spots cannot be eliminated by you
Sometimes an awareness of your blind spots is all you need to be able to shift your perspective and realise that you alone can’t remedy the situation.
5. Develop a team to cover your blind spot
If your blind spot is a skills gap, make sure you hire team members that are strong in the area you are weak in. That way you can focus on your abilities and strengths and leverage the skills of others to support you on the journey.
6. Empower your team to cover your blind spot
When your team members are empowered, they can step up and take responsibility for specific areas of the business.
7. Value people who cover your blind spots
Recognition and reward are essential leadership traits, so make sure you really value the team members who have got your back.
Identifying your blind spots is not an easy task. As a leader, you have to be bold and brave to consult those around you for honest feedback; and then be humble, open, and vulnerable whilst receiving that feedback, because you may not like what you hear. However, the transformational impact you can have on others once you are aware of your blind spots, and take action to mitigate them, can be profound and make the difference between an average team and an exceptional one.