Leadership in business often means having to grasp the big picture without necessarily being able to see the whole thing. And as startup mentor Marty Zwilling explains in his article on the Huffington Post blog, identifying one’s blind spots is key.
Zwilling discusses the book “Leadership Blindspots” by Robert Bruce Shaw, and points out that every business leader has blind spots that hinder their success. What’s more, it’s the ability and willingness to accept and address these limitations that can make or break most business leaders.
Part of the balancing act of being an effective leader is having enough confidence to push forward your ideas, while maintaining enough humility to acknowledge your weaknesses. Confidence and humility are two qualities that would seem to be at odds with one another and yet, both are essential for maintaining an intellectually honest assessment of the circumstances at play in a business setting.
Of course, acknowledging the need for a healthy balance of self-confidence and self-doubt is not the same as actually maintaining that balance. There are a few techniques from Shaw’s book to surface information that might be otherwise obscured from the view of individuals in leadership positions.
Some of these techniques may seem fairly obvious: favoring open-ended questions over those with a “yes/no” answer; being careful not to steer the conversation to confirm your own assumptions; and making sure to not accept evasive answers. Other suggestions are more novel, such as: paraphrasing and, in some cases, intentionally mis-paraphrasing what you’re hearing from others. This will force those around you to go into greater detail to expound on their point and may reveal specifics that might otherwise have been glossed over.
Part of being an effective leader is being a strong judge of character, and that includes one’s own. Taking into account personal strengths and weaknesses can help to limit the adverse effects of leadership blindspots.
Head over to the HuffPo blog, blog for the full list of leadership recommendations.