(Part 3 of 3 Obstacles That Hold Leaders Back – and How to Overcome. Read Parts 1 and 2 by clicking here)
Blind spots can be deadly when you are driving. A car can be almost right beside you, but you can’t see it. A quick lane change can lead to the angry sound of a car horn or the crunching sound of metal on metal.
Blind spots are real obstacles. Not only can they hold a leader back, they can cause significant consequences to the team and the mission. And we all have blind spots. And, yes, you have them too.Blind spots are real obstacles. Not only can they hold a leader back, they can cause significant consequences to the team and the mission. Click To Tweet
We don’t fully see how others experience us. And we don’t fully see how we impact others. Our blind spots can frustrate and even infuriate others. They usually don’t flow from bad intentions, but blind spots can—and do—hold us back. They cost us respect, trust, relationships, opportunities and even our jobs.
So how do we overcome this common internal obstacle that holds leaders back? How can you avoid being the only person who doesn’t see your own blind spots?
Let me share four practices:
1. Reflect – Take regular time to reflect.
Pray Psalm 139:23, 24, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Ask the Lord to guide you and reveal to you anything you cannot see or need to see. Reflect on where the fruit of the Spirit might not have been evident in your words, posture or actions. Reflect on any direct or subtle feedback that others may have given you in their words, posture or actions.
2. Ask – Use intentional questions to learn more about how other people experience you.
For instance, at the end of a key meeting, ask a colleague, “How did I come across in that meeting?”
Ask your supervisor this open-ended and pointed question: Is there anything I’m doing or not doing that negatively impacts the team or my work?
Don’t get defensive. Don’t make excuses. Don’t minimize. Be appreciative for any and all feedback.
Reflect on what you can learn from the feedback. Have you heard this before? What might the cost be? Do you need to monitor this area or make some changes?
3. Pursue – The majority of Christian leaders I work with don’t receive formal 360-degree feedback. Most don’t even get an annual performance review. Too many never get a review.
Blind spots grow without feedback.Blind spots grow without feedback. Click To Tweet
You can pursue informal feedback by inviting it from your supervisor or team. You can ask for a formal review.
Sidenote: Arrow Leadership provides a 360-degree assessment identifying recent successes and revealing potential blind spots along with a 90-minute video coaching session and customized action plan. Inquire at:
4. Watch – Strengths often come with a shadow side. The apostle Peter had the strengths of being bold, forthright and action oriented. The shadow side was acting or speaking too quickly and sometimes missing Jesus’ way.
Be attentive to the blind spots that your strengths cast. Your depth of experience may mean you are slow to listen or adverse to change. Your quick intuitive mind may mean you go faster than people can follow. Your ability to focus on tasks may mean you miss caring for people.
What do you need to do to see yourself more clearly and reduce your blind spots?
Cheering you on!
Dr. Steve A. Brown
President, Arrow Leadership