We all have blind spots. You have them, I have them, we all have them. The hardest part about blind spots is that we do not see them. I suppose that is why we call them “blind spots.” When this happens while driving, another car can essentially disappear from view, yet be right beside us. If we turn or change lanes, the damage will be immediate and severe.
When our blind spots are personal, the damage is no less great, but they can occur gradually…almost without our notice. Until we discover our personal blind spots (typically because someone else points them out) we tend to just plug along not realizing the damage we are causing by this inherent flaw in our perspective.
Recently I discovered that I suffer from the “My Way” blind spot. This was reluctantly pointed out to me by my team after I wanted a project to be done a certain way. The banter between them went something like this…
“You mean you wanted it done the “Carl Weber Way?”
“Yeah, it is like Carlito’s Way, only with less violence.”
“Most of the time when you assign a project we will end up doing it your way in the end, even if we have other ideas.”
I was stunned. I resisted the natural urge to defend myself and just listened. Arguing about your blind spot is as foolish as turning your car into that crowded lane because you just know there is no car there…while hearing the crash. Instead I listened. I really listened. It became clear that the “My Way” blind spot was real and having an impact on others. My tendency to delegate without freedom created tension and a lack of trust. Over time, this can create followers who feel unable to be creative or do things their own way.
Identifying the blind spot was the first step. The next, and much harder step, is trying to figure out how to change a pattern of behavior that I didn’t know existed. It will not be easy, but leading well never is. I will have to check those mirrors a little more often before changing lanes.
What is your blind spot? Where are you speeding along without seeing what is right beside you? Are you causing unaware damage?
My advice today is simple: Listen and look. But be prepared to deal with what you find.