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Gauge Your Blind Spot!

I was driving home late at night, anxious to return home.

As I passed the car in front of me, it made a sharp turn into my lane without warning. Fortunately for me, I was able to immediately swerve onto the shoulder of the road, narrowly missing a high-speed collision. For reasons I will never know; the driver I passed that night neglected to check their side mirrors or turn to gauge their blind spot.

According to medical scientists, the human eye contains its own tiny functional blind spot the size of a pinhead. The blind spot in the human eye is due to its structure and lack of photoreceptors. Scientists tell us that each of our eyeballs has a visual field that overlaps with the other. This overlap then compensates for our blind spots. Apparently, our brains can fill in missing information and we remain blissfully unaware that we have natural blind spots.

Unfortunately, blind spots are not just in our eyeballs or car lanes. They can also exist within our leadership style.

Have you ever worked for a leader that seemed oblivious or unaware of the impact of their actions? How did this person’s lack of awareness affect your commitment to the team? How did it feel to be led by someone who had not identified their own potential blind spots?

Many years ago, I worked for a leader who was very exclusive with team input. In fact, this leader highly favored one person’s input more than that of any others. At times, various people on our team would offer alternative suggestions to the leader, but the opinion of the “favored” one always won out. The result of this exclusivity was a toxic working environment. Everyone knew that if the one team member did not agree with an idea, it would not happen.

As time went on, suggestions and ideas became fewer and communication was minimal. I eventually learned that our leader and this team member had a shared history one in which their families had both navigated an intense crisis together. I’m sorry to say, this leader had developed a blind spot due to his personal sense of responsibility toward my team member. Regrettably, that blind spot was now having a detrimental effect on team morale and organizational results.

The good news is leaders can avoid blind spot collisions in their organization by identifying and acknowledging what the potential blind spots are.

Consider these three questions to help you identify your own blind spots:

  1. How has your vision of reality been distorted through difficult experiences?
  2. Whose voices are you automatically discounting or preferring?
  3. What might your team or close family members say are your potential blind spots?

Uninformed leaders can be effective demotivators.

Gauge your leadership blind spots and you just might avoid that next collision within your organization.

Erik Dees is a Partner with Milestone Leadership and a regular contributor to Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. He can be reached by phone at (319) 504-3083 or edees@milestoneleadership.com.

Milestone Leadership offers immersive leadership development options to identify and overcome blind spots.

We’re filling limited seats now for two of our well-known programs:

Milestone Leadership Intensive

Through our flagship leadership development program, we bring together a class of cross-industry peers to inspire growth in all participants as we discuss the common leadership challenges and opportunities all of us face. The intentionally small class size allows personal access to inspiring speakers, as well as time to meaningfully interact and connect with other participants. Participants develop a clear understanding of their leadership capabilities and learn to maximize influence through emotional intelligence. Additionally, we work with each class member to create a specific and individualized action plan for continued personal development. Coming up May 18-20, 2021, we only have a few spots available for the next development program. For more information, call 866-752-7180 or message us at milestone@milestoneleadership.com.

Leadership Circle for Suppliers

This cohort-based program is designed to support the development of high performing, high potential supplier talent, helping them excel in their current roles as well as attain career advancement over a six-month span of time.  The opportunity fosters development of an external peer network, and participants receive multiple 1:1 executive coaching sessions from seasoned veterans with 20+ years in the supplier community. We are now opening registration for the Fall of 2021 and will begin our next journey of building leaders worth following through individual assessments, five half-day general sessions covering important leadership topics, and our off-site Milestone Leadership Intensive program. For more information, feel free to reach out directly to Milestone’s Executive in Residence Lori Brown at (479) 366-1495 or LoBrown@milestoneleadership.com.



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