05 Feb The Blind Side
Imagine the difficulty that you would have driving in a car with no mirrors. It would seem absurd and unsafe. There would be no way to be alerted to dangers in your blind spots, to know how to steer when reversing, and ultimately how to ensure that you and others remain safe. However, many of us navigate our professional careers like a car with no mirrors. We fail to utilize the right tools and resources that can keep our professional journey aligned through awareness and focus. As a result, we are unaware within our careers of our blind spots.
Professional blind spots occur for many well-intentioned and well-functioning individuals. Here are some of the common examples:
- Decisive and candid employee but perceived by others as insensitive and hasty
- Intelligent and outspoken but perceived by others as condescending and egotistical
- Deliberate and composed but perceived as indifferent and disengaged
- Assertive and proactive but perceived as inflexible and overzealous
Just as our car mirrors help us course correct, employing the help of a trusted mentor can give us the leverage needed to navigate through our blind spots. Follow these steps below to gain more insights on how to address these areas:
Assess how you want to be perceived. Write down the components and attributes you want to be known for and the type of professional legacy you want to have within the organization.
Solicit feedback. Be sure that you gather feedback from trusted professionals with different styles than your own, and those that will be candid with you. Engage individuals that have observed your performance in a variety of settings. I strongly recommend using a 360° feedback assessment. Use a tool that allows people to have a level of anonymity. While some people are great at providing feedback directly, others may want time to think and rather share it via a written format.
Examine your feedback and look for trends and themes. Once you have your feedback, take the time to review if there are common patterns, trends, and themes. Are these new? What were you not aware of before?
Create a community of accountability and insight. Don’t process the feedback alone. You will want to partner with a mentor, coach, or another colleague that you trust to help you get perspective on what was shared. Using a trusted source to help you review the feedback may help you uncover hidden strengths and support you in adjusting behaviors in identified opportunity areas.
As you move forward in your career, you can learn the art of masterfully navigating perceptions in the workplace by enlisting a team to help you see your blind spots. In doing so, you will continue to have a strong professional journey.