Watch your blind spot

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

To avoid being a casualty of your own flaws, examine your blind spot.

Brent Sherwin, a manager at Schwan Food Co., learned this lesson after hearing from his boss that he’d be stymied in his career unless he was better able to work with colleagues.

Until that moment, Sherwin believed he had a stellar reputation. After going through a 360-degree feedback process, he learned how others really viewed him: a sharp-tongued, arrogant cowboy.

“When top-level executives made poor decisions, I was very quick to let them know,” Sherwin recalls.

That revelation felt like “a two-by-four between the eyes,” he says. As part of his coaching, he learned to be candid without calling anyone an idiot.

Several recent studies have shown that executives rank their own leadership skills more highly than their direct reports do. In a 2011 study of 29,231 U.S. managers by PDI Ninth House, those “self-promoters” were six times more likely to be demoted or dismissed.

How to avoid such a fate?

First, don’t turn a blind eye to your faults. Seek out frank and frequent feed­­back from work allies who know you well, suggests David Brookmire, president of Corporate Performance Strategies Inc.

Second, focus on a fix. A software company VP who was coached by Brookmire kept a 17-step plan inside his go-everywhere leather portfolio. The plan included coaching lessons such as “Develop a more personable and approachable style.”

After being twice passed over for promotions before his 360-degree feedback and coaching plan, the VP finally got his promotion.

— Adapted from “What’s in Your Blind Spot?” Joann S. Lublin, The Wall Street Journal.

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business letters July 21, 2012 at 8:25 am

After knowing the faults, don’t turn your eye into blind. Try to rectify your faults by taking feed back from your well wishers.

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