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Clearview® Performance Systems brings you ... ® ... a Culture of Results & Engagement®

Here's the next in our series of weekly managerial TIPS (Techniques, Insights, and Practical Solutions)
to help you better engage your team in the activities that lead to higher performance.

CORE Bites Issue #12
(February 19, 2019)

Could Blind Spots Be Getting in the Way of Your Leadership Growth and Effectiveness?

In 1660, a French physicist discovered that every eye has a blind spot. Where the optic nerve connects the retina to the brain, there are no cells to detect light. Consequently, in that exact area, the eye is biologically 'blind.' But instead of seeing an empty spot—a hole—in our vision, the brain compensates for this deficiency by filling in the hole with an extrapolation of what it's seeing/perceiving immediately adjacent to the empty spot and then 'guessing' what the missing information might be. For each of us, that guess becomes as much a fact as any real vision.

Fascinating information? Sure ... but what does this have to do with managing/leading? In a nutshell, there are always things we don't necessarily pick up during our interactions with people. If we miss signals (clues) altogether we'll now experience a (metaphorical) blind spot because our brain makes up for the missed signal—in a similar way to what occurs with the biological blind spot—and fills in the information gap with something we didn't actually see or hear. Blind spots also describe weaknesses leaders can't see in themselves, even though they are evident to others around them.

High Value Activity (HVA) Action Steps

This phenomenon is so powerful that it can blur our perception and result in many deleterious behaviors including lack of humility, insensitivity, and a tendency to be over-controlling (or overly assertive). This week's HVA is designed to increase your self-awareness and alert you to potential 'blind spots.'

  • Ask!: Many leaders refrain from asking for blunt feedback because they don't want to appear weak or vulnerable. One way to overcome this concern is to be specific in your request when you seek input from your boss, peers, and direct reports. For example, questions like "My intent is to make a greater contribution to the team. Would you tell me one thing I can do to be more effective as a leader?" and "I'm trying to improve my communication skills. What's one thing I can do to communicate better?" are specific and demonstrate your interest in improving yourself. Positioned this way, most people will want to help and respond in an honest, constructive way.

A final thought ... one of the critical learnings taught in new driver education classes is to check your blind spot. Despite a rearview mirror, side mirrors, and peripheral vision, aware drivers quickly realize that there are still areas that are not visible. To be safe, they have to make the extra effort to look over their shoulder. Becoming more self-aware is a lot like learning to drive ... it's crucial to check your blind spot (and adjust course if necessary).

I'd love to hear how this HVA works for you!

Neil Dempster, PhD, MBA
RESULTant™ and Behavioral Engineer

Quote of the Week

"There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one's self."

— Benjamin Franklin —