Below is an excerpt from our manager training called the 24/7 Leader.
Inspiring leaders intentionally build teams that authentically support each other.
They demonstrate constructive respect by believing everyone has both strengths and blind spots and understand it’s their responsibility to find a path to high performance together.
Blind spots show up in many forms: a lack of skill, a deeply rooted belief, or even an overused strength.
Basically, blind spots are anything we’re not aware of that negatively impacts our work and life.
One coaching client sought my help because he knew something was off, but he didn’t know what. He asked me to do a 360 Survey, which involves interviewing a person’s boss, peers, and direct reports to get a complete picture of what they’re doing well and what they could be doing better.
I learned “Rob” wasn’t resolving conflicts on his team. If disagreement surfaced in a meeting, he’d usually say, “We’ll address that issue later. What’s next on the agenda?” Then he’d “forget” to revisit the issue or make light of it implying it wasn’t important to him.
When his department’s performance metrics suffered, he blamed the team’s “personality problems.” His team not only resented it, they lost respect for Rob’s leadership.
The feedback from the 360 Survey helped Rob recognize his skill deficit. He hired me to teach him how to identify and resolve conflicts. It took him about six months to learn the new model, practice the steps, and become masterful, but eventually he developed this crucial leadership skill and it is no longer a blind spot for him.
Missing skills and hidden beliefs are difficult to see, yet are often painfully obvious to others. The gaps that result from overusing our strengths are also difficult to see.
Below are some overused strengths that are associated with typical blind spot behavioral tendencies:
Courageous – becomes 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 and easily discouraged when they arise
Reliable – Stubborn; resists change; conflict-avoidant
Great Listener – Wishy-washy; unwilling to express or defend viewpoint
Accurate – Rigid thinking inhibits creativity and innovation; anxiety over making
mistakes leads to fear-based decisions
Diplomatic – Aloof; emotionally disengaged from others
Decisive – Dictatorial; poor listener; moves too fast; overly blunt
Once we recognize a blind spot and how it impacts us and those around us, we have choices. We can master it ourselves or hire someone else to cover it for us.
Your Leadership Coaching Challenge:
Practice acknowledging your blind spots, and be sure to include these actions:
- Don’t hide your blind spots. Explain them! We have to address blind spots before we can cover them.
- Make a list of blind spots you want to cover by delegating to others. Hire accordingly! Explain in the hiring interviews what the expectations are around playing to strengths and covering blind spots and your commitment to developing a high performing team.
- Make a list of blind spots you want to develop. Create an action plan for improving one skill every three to six months. Read books, take classes, hire a coach, or work with an accountability partner to keep yourself focused based on your preferred learning style.
- Assess whether it’s your role to address another person’s blind spot – for example, your boss or a person on a peer’s team. If the answer is no, make peace with the situation and work to support that person.
Once leaders understand themselves, how they prefer to operate, their 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.