How did I learn about all these things?
I would love to say I was perceptive enough to figure them out on my own, or that the insight came as a result of enlightened thinking.
But that’s not the case.
I learned about all of these because someone told me. I wasn’t clever enough to see them on my own. That’s why they’re called blind spots.
The longer you lead, the more important it is to develop a reliable, honest, accurate feedback loop. (This post from Jeff Brodie is a must read for those of you trying to help a leader see a blind spot.)
Here’s the tension: The longer you lead and the larger your organization becomes, the less people will be naturally willing to tell you things you might not like to hear.
How do you overcome that?
Here are three questions you can ask as a leader that give other people permission to help you see your blind spots:
1. What am I doing that’s not helping our mission?
I try to ask this question regularly to the people around me.
Even if the answer is, “I can’t see anything right now,” making a habit of asking the question creates a culture of openness and mutual support.
It also signals to the team that the leader doesn’t think he or she is infallible.