While driving the other day, I suddenly noticed a vehicle in my blind spot. Wow, was I thankful for my drivers side blind spot mirror so I could see the car next to me before changing lanes.
Regardless if you’re a coach, scout, pastor, politician, fire / police chief or corporate america business leader, there is a high probability that you have blind spots in your life and leadership. I know, because I’ve witnessed them in each of the professions mentioned above.
Do you have any blind spots? Not sure about you, but I will be the first to confess, I do. If you answered no, then you now know where your blind spot is.
Okay, I think most of us would acknowledge that we do possess some level of blind spots. We assume there must be some areas where we “don’t know what we don’t know.” And we suppose that our personal blind spots have an effect on our lives – quite possibly a negative effect.
But what happens when a leader has blind spots? Truth is, it affects many more people than the leader alone. The tentacles can have a far-reaching impact on the leader and their family members, the entire team, department or organization.
Here’s my definition of a blind spot: “An area in someone’s life in which he continually fails to see himself or his situation realistically.” This unawareness often causes great damage to the person and to those around him.
There are many kinds of blind spots, however below are 3 dangerous blind spots exhibited by leaders that would be worth giving close attention too…
- INSECURITY: Insecurity by it’s very nature causes leaders to think only of themselves. But the very essence of leadership is being about others!
This is a difficult blind spot to recognize in yourself, and even more difficult to overcome. But if you have any of the following characteristics, you might be an insecure leader. And you might need to get help from an objective friend, mentor, accountability partner or counselor to overcome your insecurity. Characteristics of leadership insecurity include:
- Difficulty giving credit to others.
- Hoarding information.
- Limiting your followers’ exposure to other leaders.
- Feeling threatened by the growth and development of others.
Remember, you can’t lead people if you exhibit a need to control them.
- OUT OF CONTROL PRIDE/EGO: I believe pride is a leader’s greatest enemy. Like insecurity, pride makes the leader all about himself, rather than those he leads. It is the opposite of humility. A prideful leader tends to blame others, live in denial, be closed-minded and rigid. This results in low morale among followers.
How do you overcome pride? I’ve found that the best antidote to pride is gratitude. When I recognize that I can’t take credit for any of my gifts I can feel gratitude. This leads to humility and an ability to give credit and accept blame as needed. Remember, pride will always come before a fall.
- LACK OF CHARACTER: Character simply mean “who you are.” Are you the same person when no one else is around or looking? Character protects talent. Many people, and even athletes with talent may achieve great success, but the ones who have neglected to develop strong character rarely stay there long. Absence of strong character eventually topples talent. Why? Because people cannot climb beyond the level of their character. They will fool others for a season, but in time, they will be exposed.
To develop your character, you first need to recognize it’s void in your life. Usually, all you need to do is compare what you say with what you do. Does your walk match your talk? Wherever they don’t match, that shows a lack of character. Align your values, morals, thoughts, feelings and actions – and your character will be strengthened.
There are other blind spots that affect all of us, but these are three dangerous ones that will specifically do damage to a person’s leadership and influence. Examine yourself to see if you might have one or more of them. You might want to ask a trusted coach, scout, family member, friend, colleague, or followers for their honest input. (And if that strikes fear into your heart, you might want to look closely at yourself in the area of Insecurity.)
It’s worth doing this self-examination, because by discovering and correcting any of these blind spots, a leader can make progress on his leadership. Notice I didn’t say perfection – but progress. This will improve morale and increase productivity for your team as a whole.
Blind spots can put a lid on your leadership and influence quickly. Open your eyes and identify your blind spots. Your team will go to an entire new level.
Are there any additional blind spots you would add to the list?