Saturday, October 31, 2009

"Blind Spots in Our Lives"

"Blind Spots"

Next week, I will be in Orlando, Florida teaming with one of my mentors, friend and colleague, Lee Ellis.  We will be co-presenting a seminar titled, "Character in Motion: Character is evidenced by Leadership Behavior."

Lee also wrote a book called "Leading Talents, Leading Teams."  Because he and I are teaming on this seminar, I thought it would be fun to blog on a piece of work Lee did by sharing a part of what he wrote in Chapter 3 of his book is titled, ” Objectivity: Seeing Reality”.

Of course, each of us is very objective about our own lives right? Everyone else has a problem with their character or behavior, correct? Lee says, “Objective: Of course we are. NOT!” To be a strong leader of character, what is really vital to our success is that we be objective and have an accurate view of ourselves. Lee reminds us that without objectivity we are missing an extremely important factor in our ability to process decision-making information accurately. Without objectivity, Lee argues, we may lack credibility. And without credibility of course, no leader can gain the trust of their followers or those they influence.

So, how do we determine how we should see ourselves? One of the first steps is to realize that as Lee puts it, “Our self-view distorts the lens through which we view others.” Lee points out that our brains are rarely accurate in developing opinions and decisions of others. The reasons for that are many, but primarily it is because of what Lee calls “filters” that we are limited in our objectiveness. Our experiences for instance, form a type of filter that removes a piece of reality from what we are processing. Once a filter is in place, we are prone to bad judgments that can result in bad decisions.

So, if we are not objective about ourselves,” our self-view also distorts the lens through which we view others.” That distorted view is what Lee calls “blind spots.” Some people are so blind to some of their struggles (weaknesses) that they even deny their existence. Do you know what your strengths and struggles are? Furthermore, are you aware of blind spots in your life? Regardless, whether we acknowledge them or not, we all do have blind spots.

To answer those questions, we have to be brutally honest with ourselves and realize that we need to be objective in seeing reality in our own lives. If we acknowledge that we all have some type of “blind spot” in our lives that distorts and/or filters how we interpret others, that may be the best step toward becoming a more whole person who can be a stronger leader, and whose character can influence others to trust them. Lee also says that a lack of objectivity can cause unrealistic expectations, because when we expect someone to respond or behave in one way and they don’t, that expectation can lead to disappointment, hurt feelings, and anger.

To sum up the chapter, Lee says that, “Awareness is the way, and courage is the entrance fee to gain an objective viewpoint.” Are you willing to learn what your blind spots are?  I encourage you to take an objective look at who you really are so that you can objectively view others around you. By doing that you will have made great progress in your development as a leader and your growth as a person of character.

Until next time, keep "Leading with Character First!"  Heidi Ho - Dane

1 comment:

Advocates for Conservatism in Education said...

Your education policy is insightful. Character is such an important part of life, educational, social, and political. Thank you for your focus on character and your insights on education. You will be a good leader.