Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What's Your Leadership Blind Spot?

Have you seen the latest Allstate Mayhem ad?  It's about blind spots, a scary and real danger for any driver as depicted with dark humor in this commercial.

Blind spots are also a danger on the job.  There's an excellent article and slide show by Loretta Malandro, PhD on Bloomberg Businessweek called Discover Your Leadership Blind Spots.  To quote the article, "Our behavioral blind spots create dire and unintended consequences: They corrupt decision-making, reduce our scope of awareness, create enemies, silos, and camps, destroy careers, and sabotage business results." 

So true.  Yet the good news is that blind spots are just behaviors, and behaviors can be modified.  "Blind spots are not flaws; nor are they malicious. They are automatic behaviors. The real culprits are not the blind spots themselves. The problem is when they are unidentified and mismanaged."

So unlike Mayhem in the Allstate commercials, our leadership blind spots are not intentionally harmful.  I think this is an important point because we often believe that others realize the impact of their behaviors and thus further assume an intent to disrupt, or insult, or dominate, etc. 

The article concludes with these tips:  "The first step is to ask others for their candid feedback. Your opinion about how you think your behavior affects others isn't sufficient. The reason these behaviors recur is that you're not aware of what you're doing. Second, take accountability for your impact and stop justifying your behavior by defending your positive intentions. Third, in the absence of a structured process, ask those who do see certain weaknesses to coach you the moment your blind spot surfaces. Finally, stop the behavior the instant you see it by acknowledging it."

The link for the slide show with the author's top ten list of leadership blind spots can be found on the first page of the article, or you can click here for viewing.

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