May 22, 2013

3 Blind Spots That Topple Good Leaders

 

Mirrors that hide nothing hurt me. But this is the hurt of purging and precious renewal – and these are the mirrors of dangerous grace.” — Walter Wangerin Jr.

Through my coaching work with leaders, I’ve uncovered a secret. Here it is:

The greatest danger to great leadership isn’t lack of skill, or waning passion, or moral failure, or weak strategic thinking. It isn’t being overwhelmed or burnout. It isn’t opposition from the world or strife within the ranks. It isn’t lack of courage or even lack of faith.

No. All of these challenges to leadership, formidable though they are, can be easily recognized and strategically addressed, one-by-one, for any leader willing to look.

But, the greatest danger to powerful leadership lies in what the leader cannot see — this is the leader’s own blind spots.

Blind spots are a leader’s undoing. Like a virus in an otherwise healthy body, they operate unseen, growing in the shadows of every leader’s best efforts, eroding the foundations he or she is working diligently to build until some years into the work, the structures begin to collapse, apparently for no reason. At least, none that they can see.

This is what I love about the Leadership Circle Profile. This 360-assessment is unlike any other on the market, for it does something no other 360 I’ve ever seen can do.

It reveals your blind spots. It pulls from the shadows all the unconscious behaviors and beliefs that undermine your leadership and displays them in the light of day in a way that is statistically rigorous and easy to understand. Admittedly, the process can feel a bit like ripping a Band-Aid off sensitive skin. But once you see them, you can do something about them. You can make different choices. You can begin to grow again.

The blind spots (which the assessment calls reactive tendencies) fall in three major categories. Do you relate to any of these?

  • Complying: The extent to which a leader gets a sense of self-worth and security by complying with the expectations of others rather than acting on what she intends or wants.
     
  • Protecting: The extent to which a leader believes he can protect himself and establish a sense of worth through withdrawal, remaining distant, hidden, aloof, cynical, superior, and/or rational.
     
  • Controlling: The extent to which a leader establishes a sense of personal worth through task accomplishment and personal achievement, displayed via perfectionism, drivenness, self-centered ambition, and overly-competitive comparison with others.

You can read more about how these blind spots undermine leadership by checking out this Leadership Circle Profile brochure [pdf]. I’m fully trained and certified in this 360 instrument, and every leader I’ve taken through it has experienced dramatic growth in his or her leadership impact and effectiveness.

If you’re one of those leaders whose finding his efforts stymied for reasons you can’t understand, or if you just want a powerful way to grow your leadership quickly, then this assessment is for you.

Read more about my Leadership Circle coaching process here.

If you want to set up a free, exploratory call to talk about it more, just drop me a line. I’d love to connect.

CC Image • fly again on Flickr
Read more content like this in Momentum.

Originally Published: May 22, 2013
Category: Church Leadership
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