A helpful modern invention is the blind spot indicator on automobile mirrors. Before they came along, the incidence of two drivers trying to meet in the same place at the same time was much more prevalent, often with serious consequences. Who would have thought that such a widespread safety issue could be mitigated by such a small thing as a warning light or beeping sound?
Just like vehicles, people have blind spots, too. And not paying attention to those blind spots can result in a collision of ideas and actions. What happens when you neglect a blind spot? You’re essentially entering someone else’s lane and causing issues.
Unfortunately, people don’t come equipped with blind spot indicators…or do they?
How can you tell you may have a blind spot issue in your organization?
Here are some indicators.
- Your team members don’t speak up during meetings – everyone “goes along to get along.”
- Your team fears retribution more than they enjoy contribution.
- You sense friction between team members, but no one is willing to address the underlying issue.
- Your best employees suddenly – seemingly out of the blue – leave the company, one after another.
- Your team seems frustrated, and the more you challenge them to do more and better, the less productive they become.
These indicators point to issues on the part of the leader or the team, or both. And those issues tend to be blind spots.
What if you added “Why” for each one?
1. Why don’t your team members speak up during meetings?
Isn’t it good that everyone agrees?
If everyone agrees all the time, you are missing key perspectives. Great teams have disagreements, and they discuss them. In doing so, they may identify issues before customers do or address a process that needs to be improved. If everyone on your team is the same, you essentially may not need everyone on your team.
To the point, why don’t your team members speak up? This would be a question for them. Is it because they know you won’t listen? Or because they don’t feel valued? Is it because they are afraid of repercussions from others?
These all identify blind spots. Address them well, and you will end up with a stronger team.
2. Why does your team fear retribution more than they enjoy contribution?
This may indicate that you are coming across as a “dictatorial” leader, even if that is not your intent. Employees who work in fear will never perform to the level of those who, instead, are willingly and actively contributing toward a goal.
3. Why is there friction between team members, but no one is willing to address the underlying issue?
This may their way of letting you know that the blind spot of one team member is interfering with the other. If you can identify the blind spot, it is usually a resolvable issue.
“They talk too loud on phone calls.”
“They don’t give me a chance to provide input before they make a public announcement.”
These are easily resolved by calling attention to the matter and helping the offender develop new and better habits for the sake of the team.
4. Why are your best employees suddenly – seemingly out of the blue – leaving the company?
Here’s a hint: It’s seldom “out of the blue” and “all of a sudden.”
It’s likely that you had a blind spot that was not addressed.
5. Why is your team frustrated and unproductive?
This can indicate that your blind spot may be a lack of planning. A good leader will not only issue goals and deadlines; they will stop and consider the possibilities and timelines to determine if those goals are attainable and the deadlines are reasonable.
If you have an otherwise dedicated, high-performing team, you may want to check your blind spot and govern your ideas so they can actually be done.
What happens when you address a blind spot?
1. The Cut
Addressing a blind spot can be hurtful, but necessary. It is like surgery – temporary pain for long-term gain. Be tactful and sensitive to the needs of your people but do address the issue.
2. The Cure
When blind spots are revealed, it can be hurtful. It can be offensive. But, if delivered and received with a spirit of helping each other grow as individuals and a team, it can cure an issue that has been percolating in the organization for some time.
3. The Culture
The transparency of acknowledging and addressing blind spots helps to create an open and honest culture where team members help each other grow and develop. They will realize the offensive actions were not intentional, but simply a matter of not realizing they existed. And, in time, once each team member realizes the strengths and weaknesses of each other and themselves, they may even come to appreciate the core of the blind spot.
Here are some examples.
“This person appears gruff, but they are really just being direct and to the point, which is their nature. I know now not to take it personally. In fact, I have come to appreciate their ability to cut to the chase and identify issues so we can solve them.”
“This person is not slow; they are thorough. Last week, their attention to detail saved us thousands of dollars.”
“I appreciate that Joe is so much fun, and now that he saves his bravado for lunch, we can all enjoy his antics while also getting our work done during work hours.”
“I’ve underestimated Jane. She seems calm, cool, and collected. But don’t let that fool you. The team really enjoys working with her, so, together, they have brought this project across the finish line with amazing efficiency. In fact, they did it faster than I could have done it myself.”
Help your team create a culture of openness, honesty, and camaraderie by learning who they are as individuals – strengths and blind spots.
In this learning, there is growth – personal growth, professional growth, and organizational growth.
Turn your team’s blind spots into bright spots for your organization to thrive.
For more resources on how you can turn blind spots to bright spots in your business, click here to learn about the Communication Impact Report and Workshop for leaders and their teams.
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer, and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, and using the Maxwell Method, Deb helps leaders and teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.