What are blind spots, and why do leaders struggle with them? In this Let’s Define episode, I will explain the 3 types of blind spots and how to overcome them.
Read my definition of Blind Spots
Watch the video, or read the transcript below:
Hi, I’m Grace LaConte, the Strategic Risk Expert. This is another episode of “Let’s Define.”
In today’s episode, I’m going to talk about Blind Spots.
Most of us think of a Blind Spot as an area of the visual field that is obstructed. It’s an area that just disappears when we’re looking at something. If you’ve taken an eye test where you stare at one point for so long that everything else looks gray, that’s partly due to the way our eye is designed. At the back of our eye is the optic nerve, and what we look at is affected by the existence of that nerve.
It’s not really a defect, just more of a vulnerability in our eyesight. When we’re aware of it, we can make sure that we’re seeing everything that we should. And not missing something important.
In terms of leadership and professional development, this is also something that happens quite often. I see it so many times in companies. As a professional, we sometimes have behaviors or attitudes that affect others negatively. We might not even know that we’re doing it. Maybe it comes from a good place, like the motivation to make the company better, but actually the attitude might make people dislike you or have a negative outcome in the project you’re working on.
We are not always conscious of the behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs we portray to the world. We have to be humble enough to recognize that an aspect of our personality might be rubbing people the wrong way. It doesn’t mean that your personality is bad; it just means that you have to be aware of how you’re coming across to other people.
Another way we can define Blind Spot is with management vulnerabilities, which are areas that could go bad in a company. Aspects of how the company is running, or what is about to impact it. We can look at future potential problems. A blind spot is the lack of awareness of these problems. One example is not taking action to solve the problem fast enough. So that could result in a lot of harm.
On the flip side, Risk is not just bad things that happen, it’s simply the existence of unknowns. So unknowns can also be opportunities: wonderful things that could happen. Blind spots could also be great chances to improve your company, to become more well known, or to serve more people’s needs in ways that you are just not aware of right now. So in this case, there could be opportunities of great value that you just don’t know about yet.
How to Overcome Blind Spots
The key to seeing your own blind spots is to become aware of how other people perceive you.
This is a really long process (I’m definitely on the same journey myself!). In order to understand the needs of others, we need to develop an empathetic perspective to their experiences, emotions, and the pain they feel.
We also need to be honest about what we can do to respond to those needs.
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Grace LaConte is a business consultant, writer, workplace equity strategist, and the founder of LaConte Consulting. Her risk management tools are used around the globe, and she has successfully reversed toxic work environments for clients in the healthcare and non-profit fields. Grace specializes in lactation law compliance & policy development, reducing staff turnover after maternity leave, and creating a participatory work culture.