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The Champion Forum Podcast

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You Don't Know What You Don't Know: Uncovering Your Leadership Blind Spots

The worst thing about blind spots is that you can go years or even decades without realizing one of your weaknesses and how it affects your team. So, how can you ensure that you uncover your blind spots? You can’t eliminate every blind spot. Everyone has them, and they change throughout different life experiences and job roles. But there are ways you can help discover them to increase efficiency in your role. In today’s episode, we’ll talk about four common blind spots to look for and three things you can do to create opportunities to see your blind spots. 

Common Blind Spots

Blind Spot #1: Poorly communicating expectations.

There is nothing that sucks energy out of a team more than thinking they’ve met or exceeded objectives, only to be told the expectations were much different. Starting with a clear vision of a project and how it relates to overall priorities, great leaders set precise targets, timeframes, and specific measurements at the beginning. After a short time, managers must check back to ensure alignment with that vision. Following up not only prevents any drift from the goals but also allows for corrections and the ability to add resources before a minor issue becomes a big one.

Blindspot #2: Being indecisive

Indecisive leadership demotivates teams! What makes decision-making hard at a senior leadership level is that only the toughest decisions make it to you. Involve your team when you can, but take ownership of deciding a reasonable amount of time. The more you put off making a decision, the harder it is to make the decision.

Blind Spot #3: Waiting for poor performance to improve.

Dealing effectively with low performers can be difficult and time-consuming.  Leaders must learn how to assess problems and then take quick action to drive faster improvement and reduce the impact of their challenges on the team. 

Blindspot #4 Reluctance to Delegate. 

Trust issues and a desire to maintain control are common issues for leaders who do not delegate. When leaders are too busy with work and can't focus on strategic goals, it can hurt the team’s effectiveness.

Q: Have you ever worked for a leader with one of these blind spots? Describe your experience. How did the blind spot affect the team? If the leader ever became of the blind spot, describe what that experience was like for them and you. 

Q: What blind spots would you add to this list? 

How To Uncover Your Blind Spots

Self-Reflection: Take time to regularly reflect on your thoughts, behaviors, and decision-making processes. Ask yourself questions such as:

What are my strengths and weaknesses as a leader?

What biases or assumptions might be influencing my decisions?

How do I react under pressure?

What feedback have I received in the past, and how have I responded to it?

Seek Feedback: Actively seek feedback from various sources, including colleagues, peers, direct reports, mentors, and supervisors. Be open to positive and constructive feedback and create a safe space for others to share their perspectives honestly. You can ask for feedback through one-on-one conversations or anonymous surveys. Consider asking questions such as:

What do you see as my strengths and weaknesses as a leader?

How do you perceive my communication style and effectiveness?

What areas do you think I could improve or develop further?

How do you think I could better support and empower our team?

Don’t hire in your own image:

Entrepreneurs and leaders of small companies tend to hire people who are similar to them. It’s a natural tendency, but it can result in an entire company being unaware of its weaknesses. Being surrounded by people of diverse backgrounds will provide a fresh perspective and help uncover some of your blind spots. Look where you are experiencing recurring issues and surround yourself with people who can utilize their unique skills, experiences, and personalities to uncover your blind spots.

Q: Why do you think it is hard for leaders to uncover their blind spots? What do you think prevents leaders from actively seeking feedback? What strategies do you have in place to uncover your own blind spots?

Application Activities:

  1. Listen to Overcoming The Dread Of Delegation. To discover what to delegate, consider the different skills the tasks you complete require. What employees have skills that match? Of those employees, which ones need to grow more in those skills to reach their career and personal goals? Using this strategy will help you see how delegation can benefit you and your employees and inspire you to take the risk! Choose one task on that list and delegate it this week.

  2. Examine the strategies in the podcast for uncovering your blind spots. Choose one technique and develop a system to implement it into your routine. For example, you can develop a system where, once a year, you examine your hires, look for areas where you need more diversity, and talk to HR about how to ask questions that will identify ideal candidates. Or, you can implement a quarterly anonymous survey to ask for feedback on how to do things better personally or as a team. Get accountability in this process from your boss or a mentor.

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