“Your blindspots are the things that really hurt you.”
I was sitting in a meeting with a client, someone I have huge respect for and we were discussing the concept of blind-spots.
“I know what my blind-spots are”, they commented.
“Tell me more”, I replied.
They listed a few things that they considered areas to be improved on, which were valid – but they weren’t in the blind-spot zone.
So I said this: “By the very definition of what a blind-spot is, I don’t think they are in that category. After all, if you can see it, it isn’t a blind-spot!”
That got a laugh and then they asked the key question: “What do you think they are?”
I shared what I saw as a key blind-spot for them.
Immediately they disagreed and were annoyed.
“No way, you’re wrong. That’s not an issue.”
My job is to sometimes point things like this out, even if they don’t like it. (Who does? 🙂 )
It’s happened to me many times, where people I trust and respect have told me things about myself I didn’t ‘like’ to hear – but they were usually right, I’d just never ‘seen’ it. (Tip: Irritation at someone’s comments is often a hint that there’s some truth in their observation).
I suggested they go and ask some people around them what they thought about my suggestion – and to make sure that they were the kind that would really tell them the truth.
They did exactly that over the following days and to their shock, they all agreed with my observation – yet they had never told the person for fear of getting a negative reaction.
And this is the number one reason why leaders rarely get to hear the complete truth. People are afraid to be direct, for fear of what may come back at them, and probably for good reason.
I have blind-spots, you do too.
And they are the opportunity to really raise our game.
But who can we find to tell us the real truth of what they see?
And are we brave enough to ask, and then really listen, without reacting?
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