What you don’t know can definitely hurt your business. Despite the well-worn adage declaring the contrary, achieving either professional or personal success requires a person to constantly cultivate mindfulness and awareness of their own limitations.
Every person has blind spots throughout different areas of their life, and this applies to leaders of companies as much as anyone else. Much like for cars on the open road, even a small patch of poor visibility can have disastrous consequences for everyone involved.
Blind spots may not block the big picture, but they can obscure crucial details that have major implications down the road. Just like equipping cars with mirrors to expand the driver’s field of view, business leaders also need to take steps to identify and address their own blind spots.
Expand Your Field of View
Addressing personal blind spots isn’t as simple as adjusting your rear and side view mirrors as one would to do to help navigate while driving. Business leaders should prepare themselves for uncomfortable and challenging experiences as they reflect, review and recognize their blind spots. Preparing yourself by understanding your blind spots can better equip you to make quick organizational decisions when needed, as you will have a more clearer perspective on what actions to take.
Most people spend at least a few moments lingering in front of a mirror each morning and continue to rely on them when navigating busy roads in a vehicle. Business leaders also need to hold a mirror and sometimes as those difficult questions. How do I show up in front of my team? Am I doing what I am supposed to be doing as a leader to motivate and engage my team? Does my team feel safe enough to be honest with me and provide feedback?
Asking these small questions can have a profound impact of leadership development.
Getting honest feedback from others is rarely an easy experience, so this step is often the most difficult part of the process. Leaders should carefully consider how they request and accept a critical review from their team members. Feedback should be oriented around building awareness and looking for solutions rather than creating confrontation.
For some people, learning about themselves can be a frightening or overwhelming experience. Clearly seeing how your own actions, behaviors or ignorance has impacted others is never easy, but this realization also gives you the opportunity to actually do something about it.
Recognizing your blind spots is the act of compensating for an acknowledged weakness. For example, leaders who want to make real changes in the way they treat employees may begin with a sincere apology alongside a permanent adjustment in their behavior.
The Blindspot Paradox
The idea of identifying your own blind spots is a bit of a paradox. After all, if you knew what your blind spots were, chances are you would have already addressed them. That’s why the real blind spots are the ones that you don’t even think about and are not in your field of view.
There are several ways to address this problem, but the easiest is to simply accept that you do have limitations and blind spots that you don’t even know about. Everyone has them and you are no exception. Accepting this truth is the first step towards making fundamental positive changes in your professional mentality and management style.