HAVE YOU LOOKED INTO YOUR LEADERSHIP BLIND SPOTS LATELY?
It was a foggy morning when I reversed my car out of the driveway and into a pole. In my defence, there was a lot of condensation on the windows. As I confessed to my wife, Lyndal it became evident that the pole I struck sat in my blind spot.
I always knew there was a risk of crashing into the pole even when I could see it, but once that pole had moved into my blind spot I was destined to hit it.
This scenario reveals an important observation for ministry.
Nothing ever moves into our blind spot. We are the ones who move and become less cautious than we once were.
When we aren’t cautious of a threat, we can collide into it and come off second best. Every leader has leadership blind spots. We may understand the potential threat of a blind spot, but be unaware of it as a weakness or vulnerability in our leadership.
If we aren’t equipped to see these blind spots on our own, then how are we supposed to address and work on them?
Below are 13 questions, which those who know you well, but are not led by you, can help you answer.
The responses you will receive after asking these questions will enable you to examine your leadership and identify the leadership blind spots you have. As you hear responses to these questions, listen for truth and pursue self-discovery in order to cultivate healthy, fulfilling and consistent standards.
- How could I show I love more?
- What do you see that is healthy and unhealthy in my relating patterns?
- What patterns do you see in my life that could undo my influence?
- How do you see me stewarding my gifts and what more could I do?
- What am I most excited about?
- What indicators do you see that my spiritual life is thriving?
- If a particular sin/mistake/weakness were going to disqualify me from leadership, what would it be?
- Have I ever said anything that I’ve later contradicted with my words or actions?
- What areas have you seen me grow in over the last year?
- How have I retreated backwards in my life in the last year?
- What do you think concerns me the most in my life?
- What value do you think I offer the organisation I lead in?
- What do you think is the goal of my existence?
These questions are designed to help someone you trust, who knows you well, speak honestly into your life. You’ll already see that discovering the truth to some of these questions about yourself may hurt. It’s true for all of us, because none of us are perfect.
We’ve all made mistakes and done things, which in retrospect, we’re sincerely sorry about. Exploring these questions earlier in our leadership may have helped us avoid these mistakes. So why not start using these questions now as you look to the future?
As leaders it is important that we develop our self-awareness to a point where we are consistently evaluating ourselves against these questions (and likely others not written here).
Knowing that the responses to these questions may be uncomfortable or even painful, try committing upfront to putting aside a defensive or aggressive heart.
A helpful process you may want to pursue when using these questions is:
· Ask someone you trust, who you don’t lead, to engage with you in this process.
· If they agree, give them the questions and ask for feedback.
· Ask them to take their time and carefully consider and respond to each question.
· Meet with them, giving you both plenty of time to talk through the responses.
· Write down your own thoughts and learning.
· Remember to thoroughly explore everything that surprises, angers or hurts you.
· Don’t leave the conversation wondering what was meant when something was said.
Your search is for more truth about yourself. This doesn’t mean everything you receive back needs your attention. Having clear guidelines for what you should pay attention to or ignore is also helpful. For me that’s God revealed through the Bible.
This process will increase your self-awareness, deepen your resilience by hardening you to criticism and enable you to see the leader you are becoming.
What questions would you add to this list to help someone identify their leadership blind spots?
If you would like to know more about identifying blind spots in your leadership, enrol in our course Introduction to Christian Leadership.