I have had the enviable (or not) task of teaching a number of people to drive, including two teenage girls of my own. (Evidenced by distinct thinning of my hair). If I had to rate common pain points, I`d have to say number 1 is backing up and number 2 is checking your blind spot!
I recall years ago helping someone to learn to drive a manual shift. They already had a licence, but wanted to know how to shift a 5-speed. Once we were able to be on the road, I noticed that they never checked their blind spots when changing lanes. When I mentioned it, and my surprise, they actually told me there was no such thing as a blind spot and that they had been driving many years and knew what they were doing! Wow!
John C. Maxwell defines a blind spot as “an area in the lives of people in which they continually do not see themselves or their situation realistically.”
Leadership Blind Spots
A study by Hay Group’s McClelland Center, found that the higher an executive has risen in a company, the more likely they are to overrate themselves in areas such as self-awareness, self-management, and social skills. The report goes on to say that “with fewer peers and more power, it is easy for influential executives to lose touch with those they lead.”
We all have blind spots when it comes to our leadership styles. Authentic leadership acknowledges that reality and mitigates the impact by addressing the issues. True leaders make decisions and tale action with full knowledge of who they are and what their blind spots may be.
Consider if any of the following Blind Spots as a Leader may be blind spots for you:
Waiting for performance to improve
One of my common mantras over my career has been around being pro active. Anyone who has worked for me has heard me say “I do not want to be told at the last minute that we are going to miss a deadline – I want to know with enough time to adjust!” I`ve known many managers who have been unhappy with the performance of an employee, and they convince themselves that things will change with time. The end result is usually a performance issue far worse than the original one, with real impacts beyond the employee themselves.
Do you address issues head on and right away or do you wait for performance to improve?
Staffing people who think exactly like you
One true mark of authentic leadership is the ability to listen to differing opinions and perspectives, synthesize the information and make a decision based on the best information at the time. Leaders who recruit individuals who think exactly as themselves, often miss out on the value differing opinions bring to the decision making process.
Do you only recruit people who think like you or do you look for a range of skills and opinions to enrich the team?
Under estimating the impact of stress on your personal style
Most people under estimate the impact of stress and ignore stress symptoms. When the pressure is on we are all affected in one way or another. I have experienced many cases where people are unaware of the impact stress and pressure has on their personal style. Are you shorter with people than normal? Do you cut people off while they are talking when you usually are professional and willing to listen? Not realizing this reality has real consequences on the team you lead.
Are you steady and unaffected during stressful times or do you allow the pressure to impact your style?
Knowing your blind spots and ensuring they do not impact your team is a key to authentic leadership – what are your blind spots?