What are Your Blind Spots?

Below is an excerpt from my new coaching and peer mastermind modules, The 24/7 Leader: Transforming Personal & Professional Life:

Inspiring leaders know their strengths and look for them in others.

But that’s only one part of the equation, because for every strength, there’s an accompanying blind spot—behaviors or attributes others may see, but we don’t.

Missing skills are difficult to see. So are the gaps that result from overusing our strengths.

For example, “Juan” saw himself as an exceptional employee, so he didn’t understand why his boss never promoted him. He wanted a leadership role, so he reached out to me for coaching.

Juan’s assessment revealed he was highly task-focused. Suspecting that he was overusing this strength and that had resulted in a corresponding blind spot, I conducted a perceptual interview 360 assessment. Juan's boss described how he never offered creative solutions to current problems or thought strategically about the future. When people wanted to brainstorm new product ideas in meetings, he’d find friendly ways to say, “That’s not on our to-do list today. Let’s focus on getting this work done!” But then he would not follow up to brainstorm the new product ideas.

Juan's drive to accomplish tasks resulted in an unwillingness to grapple with issues on the horizon.

Below are some overused strengths that are associated with typical blind spot behavioral tendencies:

Courage overused can be seen as obnoxious and arrogant

Focused – Too intense; can’t see big picture

Friendly – Too chatty; misses cues to focus on work

Optimistic – Unaware of risks; doesn’t plan for hurdles; discouraged when they arise

Reliable – Stubborn; resists change; conflict-avoidant  

Great Listener – Wishy-washy; unwilling to express or defend viewpoint                 

Diplomatic – Aloof; emotionally disengaged from others                                      

Decisive – Dictatorial; poor listener; moves too fast; overly blunt     

Accurate – Rigid thinking inhibits creativity and innovation; anxiety over making mistakes leads to fear-based decisions

Human beings are complex creatures. We might think we know ourselves and have a sense of how we come across to others, but it’s extraordinarily difficult to peer into those areas hidden from us, obscured by our strengths and masked by our ignorance. Yet our blind spots are often painfully obvious to others!

Your Leadership Coaching Challenge:

If you want to know how you come across to others, consider doing a 360 assessment or asking for feedback. If you ask for feedback, include these questions:

  • What would you like more of from me?

  • What would you like less of from me?

  • What gets in the way of me being as successful or efficient as I could be?

The best option for leaders who want comprehensive feedback about their strengths and blind spots is a perceptual interview 360 assessment like the one I conducted for Juan.

Once leaders understand their own strengths and blind spots, they can do a better job of leading themselves and others.

If you would like to take this deeper, join "The 24/7 Leader" coaching process and peer mastermind. To enroll, please contact us. For more support in your team's development, let's talk: 888-959-1188.