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We all have blind spots. Are you familiar with the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes? An emperor strolls down the street in his boxer briefs convinced he is wearing the finest linens. That’s us and our blind spots every day. Everyone that knows us sees our blind spots daily. A phrase I learned is that leaders bring the weather.

Spotting Strengths

A simple idea is a concept of, “If you spot it, you got it." Typically, projection is about negative behaviors of yourself you see in others. It applies to positive behaviors as well. If you can take the time to spot other’s strengths, you can value them and their contribution. Before, you may have found other’s actions non-sensical. If you can make an effort to understand the lens they are applying to problems, you can better appreciate their efforts and improve that skill.

Owning your blind spots

Once you have a better idea of what you are great at and what you are not, you might be ready to ask someone about your blind spots. Before you ask, make sure you are prepared to own those issues. Your answer needs to be, “I’m aware and I’m working on it.” Otherwise, don’t ask. It is ok if you’re not ready.

Accept that change takes time

Once you are aware of an issue, you can fix it. It will take time to figure out what you can apply to fix that issue. The process will go faster if you have a coach or training. I will not ask anyone to change their behavior if I am not willing to modify mine. If I notice a problem, I will admit that I am working on that issue myself. If someone points out a gap and we both have no solution to offer, I’m ok with admitting defeat. “Well, we can struggle through it together."

Conclusion

We have blind spots. Accept that they are worth owning and improving on. Improving could also be as simple as awareness and new behaviors. I’m aware that UI design is not my strength. I can delegate and defer to others instead of trying to take this on myself.

  • Start spotting the strengths of others, especially those that frustrate you because they are your mirror.
  • Ask someone that knows you well about your blind spots. Only ask if you are prepared to own those issues.
  • Accept others and their limitations as change will take time.
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