While leaders typically have greater vision than most, they all have blind spots. Sometimes they don’t see coworkers fully, the organization, or their products. Sometimes they don’t see themselves clearly, or parts of themselves. Imagine if you looked into a mirror and a portion of your body was invisible. It would be clear then what parts of yourself you don’t see. You might need a coach or trusted friend to reveal what you’re missing.
Blind spots arise, largely because of the way our brains work. We form beliefs, then build on them. Rarely do we completely revise them. Leaders, in particular, find it hard to accept ideas that aren’t in keeping with their own. They’ve risen to their leadership positions largely due to their ideas and beliefs. And leaders are expected to be constant and reliable. The barriers to self-reflection are significant.
Even when leaders perform communications exquisitely and listen deeply, they hear a modification to their idea at best, not a thoroughly new perspective. Our brains want to store new information quickly. What is the brain supposed to do with all the old beliefs and ideas, if this new information–gathered from the senses–runs counter to what’s previously known to be true?
The work of leaders is extremely difficult–maintaining what they know, being open to new ideas, and knowing what beliefs and ideas motivate their coworkers. There is so much for them to see and process that it’s no wonder they experience blind spots.
Please share your thoughts with us by commenting on the blog. We will be interviewing the author of Blind Spot in the next month, who will help us discover some ways to increase our vision and visibility.
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