July 2014

Leader Blind Spots - Take off those Blinders!

Over the last six months, I’ve highlighted the most common leader blind spots I see with my leadership clients. This month, we’ll take a look at some initial exercises to take off those blinders.


So where to start… It’s not easy to face facts that as leaders, we frequently get in our own way.  How often do you do or say things that create results just opposite of what you are trying to achieve? 

Remember, it’s not about how smart or experienced we are as leaders that creates our success.  Rather, it’s about how self-aware we are and how well we observe ourselves in action to allow us to shift seamlessly along the way. 

It’s not enough to have good intentions if you’re not clear about how you’re being perceived.  Perhaps surprisingly, most of us are quite unaware of our impacts, and continue blindly along the way. 

Start Here

It helps to first get clear on what you want to accomplish, and then determine if it's you getting in the way of your desired results.

Start by addressing these initial questions:
  • What do I want to accomplish for myself and the people around me in the next six months?  And what difference would it make if I am successful?
  • And, if I were incredibly successful, what would things look like?
  • What would people know, think, feel, do and believe that they aren’t today?  
  • What is challenging or standing in my way (including me) or slowing me down?  What’s missing?

Once you are clear with the vision of what you want to achieve, engage a trusted colleague or coach to help you answer the following questions to become self-aware in your leadership approach.  Ask yourself:

  • Do I clearly know my strengths and areas of opportunity?  Would others who work with and around me agree with my assessment?
  • Am I clear about my thinking patterns and how I use them in specific situations, and how they impact others?  When I am under pressure, or being criticized?
  • How do my personal leadership behaviors add to or undermine the results I am trying to achieve?
  • Are my actions and words in sync with my intentions?  Or am I confusing others when they aren’t?
  • How would my listening behaviors be described by others?

It’s easy to become confident and comfortable with the picture we have of ourselves.  It’s not easy to put the mirror up and face facts that as leaders, we frequently get in our own way.  And if we don’t periodically test our self-awareness assumptions, we run the risk of overlooking important impacts on others that can undermine results. 

The good news is that becoming self-aware doesn’t have to painful and hard.  But it does take introspection and being open to feedback from others.  Increasing self-awareness can help you put together a whole picture of yourself to recognize your most important simple shifts toward greater leadership effectiveness!

“Know thyself.”  - Socrates 

Are you achieving the results you want?
The best leaders make simple shifts or practical changes for big results.  I work closely with leaders to create practical solutions to achieve real success. Let me help you discover what's possible. Visit my website www.terrihughes.com for details.

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