By: David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer
It was a mid-December evening, about ten minutes after 5 PM, and I had a tough day. Lots of meetings, and a training session. My mind was wandering to what I would need to do that evening. It was dark and raining as I entered the highway on my drive home. I began to accelerate and shift into the middle lane when I had one of those heart stopping moments as you turn on your blinker, begin to shift lanes, and hear a horn blow next to your rear window. My car was less than a month old and I was heading into the path of a car on my left. He was in my blind spot. I never saw him. To make me feel even worse, my car has a blind spot warning system and I never looked at it.
As I thought about that night driving home I realized how many other areas in my life have blind spots. Just like when we are driving, we have things in our life that we can’t see–often, things that are very close to us. Perhaps right next to us or right in front of us. While the effects may not be as dramatic as crashing into another vehicle, the long-term effects of these blind spots can be even more devastating. Please allow me to share just a couple that come to mind.
Admitting when we are wrong – According to a 2016 Dale Carnegie study, 81% of employees said it was important for their motivation to have their boss admit when they are wrong. Surprisingly, only 41% of the respondents reported that their boss actually admits when they were wrong. A 40% gap in expectations. Clearly a blind spot that is being missed.
Truly listen – In the study referenced above, only 49% of the respondents said that if they spoke to their leader they were confident they would be listened to. At first when I saw this I started thinking about other leaders I know and how I could see some of their direct reports saying the same things. Then I realized that I have been that leader. I have had that blind spot from time to time. Clearly another blind spot that was being missed.
Just like my Ford, we need blind spot warning systems. We need ways to see what we can’t see. We need to become more self-aware and ask for help or we just might be heading for a devastating crash. A great way to begin installing your own blind spot warning system would be to find someone you trust and simply ask what they see.
Marisa and I will spend some time discussing blind spots and blind spot warning systems on The Next Page podcast. Why not join us?