Even leaders have blind spots, those automatic behaviors that can narrow your field of view and foul up decisions.
Some myths that create blind spots: “I should have all the answers, I should know what to do, and I should be able to handle things alone.”
Watch for these three blind spots:
1. Going it alone. Our culture of independence and self-sufficiency makes it too easy to reject offers of help. You may think stoicism looks strong. In fact, your people may feel frustrated and devalued. By isolating yourself, you undercut your team.
2. Being oblivious. Because of the powerful drive propelling them upward, leaders tend to be insensitive to their impact on others. They’re unconscious of people’s reactions and unaware of the damage they cause.
3. Bottling it up. Maybe you fear that showing your dissatisfaction will open a Pandora’s box of employee emotions or conflicts, including lawsuits. Symptoms include softening your message or making generalizations. What you can’t talk about, you can’t resolve. Avoiding tough conversations only escalates issues.
1. Solicit candid feedback. Your opinion on how your behavior affects others won’t cut it. That’s all you’ve ever had.
2. Buck up and stop justifying your behavior. You know the truth about good intentions.
3. Ask those who know your weaknesses to tell you if they see you indulge in one.
4. Acknowledge and stop the behavior. Say something like, “I’m beating around the bush. Let me start over.” Then start over.
—Adapted from “Discover Your Blind Spots,” Loretta Malandro, BusinessWeek.
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