The Yin and the Yang of Blind Spots


What are your blind spots?What are your blind spots?

Think about driving.  What you see clearly is what is ahead of you. What you do not see at all is what is behind you.  What you see at the margins is what your peripheral vision captures.  Without a rear view mirror you are 100% blind to what is behind you.  But if you check often in the rear view mirror you can remedy that.  We often speak of our blind spot as that place just beyond the margins of your peripheral vision.  That we only see if we have side view mirrors.  So a good driver while keeping his or her eye on the road frequently checks not only the rear view mirror but also the side view mirrors, especially when negotiating traffic.

Now let’s think about leading. When you are leading, what you see most clearly is dependent on your angle of vision.   If your angle of vision is balanced, you see what is happening in terms of how it affects people, how it affects what you are trying to accomplish and in terms of what is right or wrong.  If your angle of vision is directed at what you need to accomplish you see most clearly anything that impedes progress.   It would appear that the person who has a balanced angle would have better vision than the person who has a focus on one specific dimension, such as accomplishing something.  But this is not necessarily so.

Another factor affects what we see.  I call this our reaction response.   Some people call it personality. We all have habitual responses or reactions to stimuli.  Some of us act quickly; some of us act more slowly and deliberately.  Some of us focus on tasks; some on people.  Clearly both are important; neither can be overlooked.  And clearly pace can make a critical difference in having something work out well or completely fail.

A leader asks.  What are we facing?  What is our challenge?  And, who on the team is the best person to tackle the challenge?  If I am a good leader I will match the challenge to the person who has the angle of vision that will best address the challenge.

The leader says, am I the best person to address this challenge myself, or would someone  else be better suited?

For both our natural talents and habitual response-reactions there is a front, back and periphery.  A driver sees what he or she is looking at whether out front or through rear or side view mirrors.  The only way to see what is there is to look at it.

What can you  do about them?

A good leader recognizes the importance of defining the problem, the nature of the challenge.  And a leader recognizes that the mission will involve not only a task but the people who will be tackling the challenge.   The leader will put out front the person who has the best natural talent for the task at hand and the person who has the sense of timing so that pacing becomes a non-issue.

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