Monday, December 17, 2012

Leadership Blind Spots

The most important thing I learned in Driver's Education was not how to parallel park! The most important thing I learned was 'check your blind spot.'

Candidly, that bit of coaching has literally saved my life multiple times throughout the past several decades.  A blind spot can mean destruction while driving a car, but I often wonder whether executives recognize the danger of leadership blindspots.

Here are a few ...

  1. My way or the highway - we would think this sort of thing would be gone with the Gen-X and Millenials ... but it remains a top blind spot for many.
  2. I don't need any feedback - here's one that reeks of ego.  This is normally reserved for those who do not want to hear about dangerous flaws that may be impeding their success.
  3. Feigned commitment - Leaders who nod their heads in approval willingly during key meetings, but only do so for appearances.
  4. An unwillingness to get one's hands dirty when the chips are down.  Leaders who are 'above all that' send a powerful message about the real work of day-to-day operations. 
  5. Illusion of participation - in change management and organizational development, we coach people to be very careful of providing an illusion of participation, only to default back to one's own ideas.
Blind spots come in all shapes and sizes ... they can be remedied with candid openess to criticism.  Yes, criticism ... not simply 'feedback' but real criticism that articulates the danger of the blind spot, the short-term impact of the blind spot, and the long-term, career damaging blind spots that can run someone off course forever. 

What are your blind spots?  Have you considered what they might be?  Have you asked for true criticism of your style by a trusted colleague? 

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