Leadership Blindspots

A small blindspot can result in a big problem. Unfortunately, we all have blindspots whether we realize it or not.

Imagine this fictitious conversation with your insurance agent following an accident where your car and the other car was seriously damaged, and all occupants were injured.

  • Insurance Agent: “Sir what was the cause of the accident?”
  • Driver: “I switched lanes and crashed with a car in the other lane.”
  • Insurance Agent: “What caused you to hit another car?”
  • Driver: “The other car was in my blindspot and I did not see it.”
  • Insurance Agent: “Sir, are you aware that you can purchase small mirrors to place on your side mirrors to enable you to see your blindspots?”
  • Driver: “I wish for the sake of all involved I had purchased those mirrors.”

Blindspots not only exist on the highway but also in leadership positions. While true that blindspots cause injury on the highway they also cause injury in homes, churches, businesses, and government.

What is a leadership blindspot and what can I do about mine? John Maxwell defines leadership blindspots as, “An area in the lives of people in which they continually do not see themselves or their situation realistically. It often causes great damage to them and those around them.”

Business trainer, Sara Canaday says that, “Blindspots occur when our intentions and perspective don’t match.” She goes on to say, “There is a disconnect with what we believe we are projecting and how others perceive us.”

Blindspots can negatively impact our reputation and, if not recognized and addressed, can harm our ministry to others. Imagine the guy who is incredibly bossy, or the lady who is a horrible listener. They may not be aware of how they are coming across and it may be inconsistent with their intention.

How can we protect our work and relationships by discovering and dealing with our blindspots?

1. Face the Facts: Just as occasionally we may have a spot on our clothing that is only noticed by others it is also true that we each have blindspots. Everyone has them and we usually will not see them without the help of others.

2. Get a Mirror: Just as those little round mirrors can save us from an auto accident, we can also obtain a mirror that allows us to see our leadership blindspots. Ask your closest friends or spouse to share candidly how you are coming across in meetings and in social settings with others. People who love you will want to help you discover your blindspots.

3. Apply a Solution: The solution may require that you rely on other people to help compensate for your blindspots. Those who are terrible listeners can take specific steps to improve their listening skills. Those who think they are always right will benefit by collaborating with others who can offer valuable input. Those of us who seem to think we can accomplish an ever-expanding amount of work, one of my blindspots, will benefit from those who are more realistic about what can be accomplished in a day, week, month, or year.

Jesus told the Pharisees who were continually noticing all that was wrong with others while ignoring their own shortcomings, “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5).

We each need help to discover and address the blindspots in our lives that others have seen all along.

What is your favorite personal blindspot story or what have you found helpful in dealing with this unseen malady?

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