The gift of knowing your blind spots

opened gift box 3d illustrationWhether they are electronic or interview style, 360’s are a good way for leaders to obtain feedback from their peers, superiors, and direct reports. Sometimes they surface surprises that might feel distressing to a leader.

It’s important for you to look for and acknowledge surprises in your 360 results – generally these are things you don’t see in yourself, but others see in you. These are your blind spots. They can be positive behaviors (strengths) or those that need improvement (weaknesses).

Both strengths and weaknesses are great prospects for your growth and development. Your blind spots can be unexpected (and sometimes unwelcome); but if you wait for the surprise to settle, you might see them this way:

Opportunity: This gift of feedback on your blind spots is a great opportunity! It’s a chance to make some changes that will benefit you now and far into the future. The changes you make have the potential to give you not just better leadership but a better life. Many leaders who have taken action on their blind spots realize improvement in throughout their entire life, including relationships with friends, family, acquaintances; as well as their own well-being. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Possibility: Your 360 feedback has so much possibility packed into a small space! Take a look at those things that surprise or shock you, and ask yourself if you agree with the them. Are they worthy of your attention? When you get a lot of feedback all at once, it’s best to concentrate on those things that inspire you in some way to develop and grow your leadership. Narrow your surprises down and pick one or two to take action on.

Valuable: The feedback you receive on behaviors you didn’t know about is valuable! You might look at it as a gift from those who want the best for you and may be willing to help you in your journey to become a better leader. There can be real gold there in terms of critical feedback to attend to as well as positive strengths that can be amplified. Welcome the insights that blind spots give you. When you take action on those that matter to you, they may well be the things that can set you apart as a leader.

Your blind spots are full of potential. Seeing them as a gift and taking action on them can change your leadership and your life for the better.

I am a former executive in a Fortune 100 company. I have owned and operated an executive coaching firm since 2003 called Aspire Collaborative Services LLC. We partner with great leaders to help them become even greater at developing, improving, and sustaining relationships with the people who are essential to their success. This blog is for leaders and those who help them to be more intentional about relationships at work. My top personal values include respect for others, kindness, compassion, collaboration and gratitude. I work very hard at practicing my values daily and when I don’t succeed, I practice some more. I am married with two wonderful daughters and two spoiled pugs.

One comment on “The gift of knowing your blind spots

  1. Great list Mary. I think sometimes leaders can get caught up in their traditional way of managing. Knowing your blind spots will only help in the long run – because you can view the same old things with a new perspective.

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