What’s Your Blindside?

Guest post by Great
Leadership monthly contributor Beth Armknecht Miller:

We all have our blind spots, those things we either can’t
see or choose not to see. These are behaviors that you mismanage and often
become more intense and harder to manage during change and stressful
situations. Let’s face it; blind spots can lead to shortfalls in our success as
a leader or a team member.

Over the years coaching senior executives, I have found that
there seems to be three themes around leadership blindside: Avoidance,
Independence, and Acceptance.


Depending on your level of comfort the number one thing that
leaders avoid are difficult conversations, which are generally related to an
individual’s performance. And if you aren’t guilty of this, I know you know at
least one person who is!  And, when the conversation
finally occurs the outcome is worse than if the conversation happened closer to
the questionable performance.

Delivering bad news about company performance would be the
second type of avoidance.  Often the
behavior displayed by a leader in these cases is a deafening silence and
absence.  Suddenly meetings start to
become less frequent and reports are delivered late. Often a leader’s fear is
driving this behavior.  The leader has
conversations in his mind of whom they might lose on their team and how it is
going to impact them, or who will lose respect for him because of the bad

Another type of avoidance is change. The executive has
identified a significant change that needs to be made, which will negatively
impact employees. And instead of implementing the change, it is delayed and
delayed again.


Independence can be displayed in a number of ways. This is
the leader who has all the answers or believes that he should have all the
answers. He thinks he is being paid to fix all the problems and has the right
solution, so he doesn’t delegate properly. The result: team members aren’t
growing to their full potential and often leave out of frustration.

Or it is the leader who sees the world only from his point
of view and has difficulty stepping into the shoes of others. This behavior inhibits
others to share their points of view and makes them feel less valuable as a
team member. It stifles innovation and optimal solutions and ultimately this is
an unsustainable model, growth will be inhibited as talent becomes frustrated
and escapes to greener pastures.


This is the leader who accepts the current state of the
business as acceptable and the external changes to be ones that won’t threaten the
organization.  It borders on complacency,
yet it is more insidious.  These leaders
know, when challenged, that changes need to occur. Yet, left unchallenged they
will continue to stay the current course.

So if you are already aware of your blindside, great!  What are you doing to address those behaviors
that are getting in your way? And if you don’t know your blind spots, how might
you go about uncovering them?

Uncovering Your Blind
Spots: Ask and Assess

The easiest way is to ask and assess. Although, if you
aren’t willing to be challenged you won’t receive the unfiltered truth. If you
are in the C Suite, you can count on not getting the truth from your employees.  Why would an employee risk their job by
helping you uncover your blind spots?

Yet, if you have a board of directors/advisors, or a peer
group such as
Vistage, that you trust and
respect, you have a much better chance of uncovering your blindside by asking

The second part of the process is to use one of many
assessment tools that help to uncover behaviors within leaders.  In my practice, I use both Hogan and Business
DNA, they both provide reports with practical coaching advice.

Once you have identified your blind spots, then it’s time to
get started with a plan to address them and develop new behaviors that will
help you to get your leadership to the next level.

Armknecht Miller
is CEO of Executive Velocity, a top talent and leadership
development advisory firm. Beth is a trusted executive consultant, Vistage
Chair, and committed volunteer. She is a graduate of Babson College and Harvard
Business School’s OPM program. She is certified in Myers Briggs, Hogan, and
Business DNA. And she is a Certified Managerial Coach. Beth’s insight and
expertise has made her a sought-after speaker, and she has been featured in
numerous industry blogs and publications. To learn more about Beth visit
BethArmknechtMiller.comor Executive-Velocity.com.