Everyone loves following a great leader; you love how they think, how they lead and more importantly how they make you feel. Although we all love following those great leaders, it’s important to understand that even the greatest of leaders have blind spots. These blind spots show up as a result of focussing on the “What” of leadership and overlooking the “How” and “Why.” Often times leaders and organizations make a habit of looking forward towards their goals, while rarely look in their rearview mirror or side mirrors to see whats coming, what’s happening around them, how people are feeling and what rough terrain is ahead. The entire organization will follow this same pattern of overlooking blind spots unless the leaders truly encourage otherwise.
By encouraging otherwise, I mean encouraging and embracing the challenging of the organization’s direction, decisions, culture, things that just aren’t quite right and pointing out the blind spots. More often than not leaders become comfortable as it relates to what they can challenge, what they can say, what’s sacred and what would be considered obvious blind spots become “things we don’t do, things our boss won’t allow or things that simply won’t change”
Leaders should encourage new hires to actively point out blind spots during their 1st 90 days of employment.Those fresh eyes and fresh perspectives are invaluable to an organization. Organizations should consider changing up the executive leadership team from time to time. This one is tricky, because there is tremendous value in having a consistent leadership team; however there is also tremendous value in someone new at the leadership table that is more willing to point out the blind spots, break what’s become normal, bring a fresh new outlook and challenge the status quo.
Another great way that organizations can begin to see their blind spots is by bringing in a reputable 3rd party consultant or strategist, whose only agenda is to be objective and help the organization reach their desired goals. Lastly, have a blind spot meeting – a meeting where you invite some of the brightest, most critical, outspoken, futuristic, company Kool-aid drinking and play it safe people all in the same room to do nothing more than point out blind spots. (This is fun)
When organizations make it a point to actively point out blind spots the organization will not only drive with the mindset of looking ahead, and periodically looking in the rearview mirror. The organization can tap into the use of the various side mirrors and overhead perspectives to help them see their blind spots. This is not a magic potion type of fix, it’s a process that takes time, focus and commitment to driving with greater leadership clarity.
Blind spots: Every organization has them, only few are willing to point them out.