“If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you.”
You’ve probably noticed a sign like that while driving behind an 18-wheeler. Although professional drivers are trained to safely travel the roadways, they can’t prevent accidents with vehicles they don’t know are there.
The same goes for leading your engineering team. If you’re not aware of your own blind spots, you won’t be able to prevent problems that can arise because of them.
Everyone has blind spots. Here are four ways to find yours:
Know thyself. You won’t find your leadership blind spots without some introspection. The Hay Group conducted this study showing that senior leaders are likely to overrate themselves. However, assessments can help people understand their strengths and weaknesses. Consider downside of your strengths as your gifts, as well. When taken to the extreme, even your strengths can become liabilities. Don’t just laugh off a weakness in your leadership as a “not a bug but a feature.” Confront it, head on.
Build a dream team. Are you hiring people who complement the strengths and weaknesses of existing team members, or people who remind you of yourself? Filling your team with Mini-Mes is a common blind spot, as Guy Kawasaki explains here. Your team will be most effective when it is comprised of people who bring out the best in each and make up for each other’s deficits.
Dwell on the past (a little). Think about how you’ve handled past situations. Sometimes, blind spots arise out of habits or instinctive reactions, rather than conscious decisions. For example, as Tom Peters shows in this video, the workload on most managers can lead to them becoming “18-second bosses” who often interrupt subordinates in order to save time. If this is you, you probably need to work on strategic listening.
Bring in a coach. Every leader can benefit from coaching. Others are able to see things we can’t see for ourselves.
If you aren’t sure what your leadership blind spots are, let us help you achieve a better vision of what you and your firm can achieve. Contact us before you get into a proverbial accident.