I made one of my periodic Big Public Mistakes a while ago. Not the kind that are about trying new things – the other kind where you just say or do something that you know better and would love to have a re-do. But here’s the challenging thing: I still don’t know exactly what it was.
We’ve talked about blind spots before. It’s a natural concern when thinking about understanding ourselves. How can we understand something we don’t know we’re doing?
During the meeting in question, I caught myself stepping outside of my assigned role. I apologized and did my best to get back on track for the remaining time. Event over, lesson learned, right? Apparently not. It kept coming up over the next couple of days. I decided to dig a little deeper and eventually someone told me that what I said came across as harsh. That’s so far from my usual way of communicating that it caught people off guard.
Like many introverts I have an internal observer and critic. I can pretty much repeat what happened in a meeting – what I said, how people reacted, what kind of nonverbals were going on, etc. In this case the editor was completely off line. I can’t pull up what I said and completely missed other people’s reactions.
That’s a blind spot.
I did some self-reflection about the experience and came up with a game plan to address things differently next time. I hope it helps to make this particular blind spot a little smaller. We’ll see how it goes.
It’s hard to uncover blind spots. People can be justifiably reluctant to tell leaders things that they may not want to hear. I learned that seeking feedback from others can be an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and grow as leaders.
How have you uncovered your blind spots?
Dee Anne Bonebright