Recently, two highly regarded leaders I work with told me they’d never heard the term “blind spot” before in reference to leadership development. Talk about a blind spot! I knew then and there that I had my next blog topic.
Simply put, a blind spot is when one lacks the awareness that a particular behavior or leadership characteristic is getting in the way of maximizing his or her professional (or even personal) impact. Common blind spot behaviors include:
- Martyr-type or know-it-all type behaviors
- Not honoring the time/schedule of others
- Lack of ownership of mistakes
- Erratic emotional behavior
Now you know what I’m talking about! No doubt, as you read through this short list, you realized you have had experiences with one or more of these behaviors throughout your career.
How Can You Fix Something You Don’t Even Know Is Broken?
Most of the time, co-workers, subordinates or even superiors are uncomfortable helping individuals gain awareness about what they are doing and how this affects those around them. If the behavior is bad enough, a Human Resources professional may broach the subject with the offender regarding the blind spot, and may even try to coach said offender to improve the behavior(s). But, more often than not, I have found HR is unsuccessful in stimulating change (Dear HR Professionals: This is not because you are not REALLY great at what you do!).
If a leader is open to it, the best approach is to invest in an external coach to help the leader gain awareness of these blind spots and to create a plan for positive change. The external coach provides a number of benefits to both the organization and the individual client:
- Complete confidentiality, and, therefore, a safe space for the client to dialogue about issues and ideas
- Unbiased, external perspective
- The ability to be candid with the client without compromising an internal professional relationship
- Professional coaching education, strategies and techniques that help create lasting change
- Broad external evaluation of the culture and engagement within the organization, perhaps leading to additional information the company can use to improve the environment for all employees
Are You Aware of Your Blind Spots?
Even if you or your company are not in a position to hire a professional coach, you might ask for candid, feedback from those that work closely with you (https://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/ask-your-co-workers-these-2-questions-it-will-supercharge-your-career.html), ask for a 360 Review or read up about other common blind spots and begin to take stock of your behaviors.
If you’d like to learn more about hiring an executive coach, feel free to email me your questions at Kimberly@KimberlyPutmanCoaching.com. Better yet, call me at 504-261-1026 to schedule an appointment. Let’s talk about how coaching can help you or someone on your team become a better leader.