What am I missing in my self-awareness? What isn’t going as well as I think it is? What do I need to know about my team to lead them better?
I DON”T KNOW!
Isn’t that frustrating? None of us knows what we don’t know! We all have blind spots where we miss key information or understanding that would help us. So what are we to do?
We start by finding truth tellers! This is an aspect of what I wrote last week: “A flourishing team will be characterized by each member investing in others.” I look for people who want me to succeed (or who believe in what I’m doing) and ask them to tell me what they see. If I’m insecure about myself, I’ll ask for good feedback first, but there’s no such thing as unhelpful feedback if I’m willing to learn from it!
The challenge is to resist becoming defensive! When my wife tells me a shortcoming she sees in me, my default reaction is defensive, but that nullifies the value of the input. Instead, I am learning to accept the observation, and seek to adapt through it, becoming better.
I think the defensive reaction is partly a function of the element of surprise. None of us expects to find a lack in our leadership; it’s like checking your mirror then changing lanes on the highway, only to be shocked by a blaring horn from a vehicle in your blindspot. Our first reaction is always defensive, but we benefit most when we can temper defensiveness and cultivate learning.
The shock of discovering a gap in my talents lessens as I get used to identifying my shortcomings!
It’s only when ALL the information is on the table that I can lead myself into a better place. Tell me what I don’t know. Speak truth to me (lovingly if you can)!
There are other steps in the journey to discovering our blind spots, but adding a truth teller or two is like buying those little mirrors to add to your door mirrors: suddenly you can see much more, and you get fewer surprises!
Here’s to truth-tellers. And to you finding yours!