Shedding Light on Blind Spots
Shedding light on unseen biases through humility, diversity, reflection, and growth unlocks better leadership.
WRITTEN BY: ADAM DANYAL
We all have them. Blind spots, that is. Those unseen biases and beliefs lurking below the surface that skew our perceptions. Like a car’s blind spot obscuring oncoming traffic, our cognitive blind spots distort how we take in information and see the world.
Left unchecked, blind spots confound our decision-making and lead us astray. But how do we shine a light on what we can’t see? It starts with humility - embracing that we likely harbor blind spots despite our best intentions. Arrogance and overconfidence keep blind spots firmly in place, while humility loosens their grip.
Seeking diverse perspectives further illuminates blind spots. We need viewpoints from different backgrounds, industries, and roles to reveal our hidden assumptions. Like a mosaic coming together, varied opinions surface unconscious biases piece-by-piece.
Of course, simply exposing a blind spot doesn’t remove it. That requires tracing it back to formative experiences that cemented it, then untangling the beliefs and emotions wrapped around it. Not easy work, but necessary.
Blind spots also emerge through our actions. Say you promise transparency to your team yet make key decisions unilaterally. That disconnect reveals an “integrity blind spot.” Actions expose what words conceal.
Finally, rigorous self-reflection - regularly examining decisions, reactions, behaviors - drags blind spots into the light. Some leaders schedule this reflection monthly, others weekly. Consistency matters most.
The most admirable leaders view blind spots not as personal flaws, but as gateways to self-improvement. While our perceptions may remain stubbornly imperfect, progress lies in the pursuit. Shedding light on blind spots brightens leadership and clears the path forward. The reward? Seeing our organization and ourselves a little more clearly.
From our Leadership Bookshelf:
WRITTEN BY: JULIA DANYAL
We all have blind spots that distort our perceptions. In their book "Immunity to Change," Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey provide insights into uncovering our blind spots and overcoming hidden inner obstacles that prevent improvement.
We are immune to change because hidden competing commitments counteract conscious desires to improve. Uncovering those commitments is key.
Immunity maps expose motives behind behaviors. They surface unconscious assumptions driving blind spots. Creating the maps requires brutal honesty.
Common leadership blind spots involve avoiding conflict, the need to be liked, and reluctance to address poor performance. Immunity mapping reveals why these persist.
Competing commitments are often born from deep-seated fears. Naming those fears diffuses their power. They seem less daunting exposed to the light.
Turning competing commitments into collaborating commitments aligned with improvement goals disarms immunity. Change emerges from inner discord.
Looking within takes courage, but lifting the veil on blind spots inspires growth. Immunity mapping is challenging yet potent medicine for leaders seeking self-improvement. When inner obstacles get their due, outer progress follows.