Leadership blind spots, Chapter 2 – How to identify blind spots and plan your growth as a leader

People often misunderstand that they have blind spots in the perception they have managed to build. Based on weak or not honest feedback they don’t get to the heart of the blind spots nature.  But as a leader, you need to understand that in different situations everyone has built its own unique view on situations, actions, and emotions that may look similar to the masses, and that often makes looking at first sight equal situations look different for different people.  People are unique and putting their perception of a situation to one place is a mistake many leaders make.  One group of people may witness the same event, but still, different group members can have very different perceptions.

In the business world that is very often seen. Imagine that you are giving a presentation, or participate in the meeting, etc. During the meeting you have presented some information, or took part in a discussion addressing your point of view. Then you have asked about how clear you were and everyone responded positively. And a few hours or days later you hear a different point of view or interpretation that differs from the theme you have explored and discussed during the meeting.   Translated to the business world that means that in meetings, presentations, conversations, etc., each person exits the interaction with a different perception of what really happened.

If you find that your interactions with others are very frequently wrong interpreted,  receive negative or not so effective as you expect result you will better start analyzing the situations to find what you are missing. Inaccurate perception is a sign of appearing blind spots. These blind spots represent that your intentions don’t match others experience. You will have to focus on identifying them and plan how to correct them, because, at the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is others perceptions about what is said or done.

We can’t correct our blind pots if we don’t see them. The question here is:

How can we find those blind spots?

The best starting point to identify your blind spots is to develop self-reflection. It is one of the skills that may turn in a strong prerequisite for your career development and success as a leader. The self-reflection is a skill that helps you to look inside you, it is your capacity to exercise introspection and willingness t learn more about your unique nature and purpose as a human. To be as successful in this process you must be able to evaluate two states of your personality – current and future or ideal perception.

To do that you will have to be really honest about yourself. There is a simple model of several  steps you can follow to achieve that:

Step one:
Begin by trying to describe yourself as a professional with the words that describe you at that current moment. Think of characteristics who you see as moving you forward. You can use here characteristics like resourceful, decisive, forward-thinking, less organized, a bit abrupt, etc.
Make a complete list including the positive and weak sides of your professional state and personality.  Don’t try to cheat on this list. The results here are part of the next steps you will come through.

Step two:
Honestly assess your strengths and weaknesses by saying where you excel and where you really struggle.
There is no one else who can struggle more from not completing an honest assessment than you. Identifying all the areas and agree on them will further help you to build a meaningful plan that will lead you to real results.
For example, you may write that you excel in negotiation, but also that you struggle when you have to understand numbers in financial reports and analysis.
This step will allow you to identify not only what your strengths and areas for development are, but also what value you add to your company.

Step three:
Make shifts from your current perceptions to the perceptions of others about you.
Answer yourself the questions about what do you think your colleagues are thinking about you and how they explain the process of working with you. Think about descriptions others may use about you if you ask them now.  Whatever you think those can write them down in a list and look at them carefully. This second list represents your guess at determining your current reputation in the workplace.

 While you have prepared this analysis, ask yourself: Are others perceptions helping or hurting your career?

After you have completed the analysis and made some assumptions about your current professional reputation, you will have to consider how you would like to be viewed by the people you work with.

Answer to yourself the question: What words would you like them to use when describing relationship and interaction with you?

Your goal here should be to create perceptions that will help you to advance your career and become a more powerful leader.

IN CONCLUSION:
Nothing happens without a strong analysis of current state and future assumptions. To plan better your reactions you will need to have the high ground. This high ground in the process of leadership development is your strong analysis of the blind spots nature. Moving forward without finishing this step successfully can easily lead you to your next pitfall and failure.

Finish your identification step to further move to the next chapter in your path: How to build or rebuild your positive professional reputation to succeed as a leader.

Previous post: Leadership  blind spots: Chapter 1-  What you need to know to understand the leadership  blind spots

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4 thoughts on “Leadership blind spots, Chapter 2 – How to identify blind spots and plan your growth as a leader

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