The Blind Spot That Leaders Miss

blind spot that leaders missA CEO friend who is a former client said to me…Brian; you talk a lot about negativity. Yes! That’s because negativity is so widespread and so readily accepted. It is something that holds us back without us knowing it is holding us back. Negativity is an especially insidious and troublesome blind spot that leaders miss because it is viewed as conventional and “normal.” It’s unnatural to look there for a blind spot that leaders miss.

Think about how negativity colors hundreds of thousands of interactions at varying degree each day. For example, a well-trained leader has a troubled team member. The team member is off track and the leader is going to straighten him out. I’m just the guy to do it, he says.

The leader started building his case. He’s having the meeting before the meeting with himself. I’ve seen this before. He’s the problem. I’m not going to hold back this time. I’ll put him in his place. He’s inconsiderate. He disrupts our team and I’m going to disrupt him!

During the meeting with the team member, the leader unloads both barrels. The team member shut down, crossed his arms and demanded to have an HR witness present. He wanted also to talk with the CEO or someone who is not enraged and totally against him. He feels he needs an arbitrator.    

Where the leader initially had one problem on his hands, now he has two…. at least!

I encourage you to not just believe me blindly. Observe this happening at multiple levels for yourself. Be vigilant, watch the human condition and see this unfold with your eyes at work, in families, community meetings and children’s sporting events. I will share a relevant statistic. An administrative judge once told me that retaliation claims have the highest payout because those in the business of human relations believe that it is human nature to want to get back at people. In other words, it’s human nature to be negative and use negativity to color our efforts.

Friends, we can change this. It is time to bring more humanity to work!

The Blind Spot That Leaders Miss

In this case the leader sprung into action full of negativity. All the highly effective leadership training exposure he had was blocked or overrun, colored by negativity. It’s as though he was wearing blinders and had tunnel vision. Without the negative feelings, the leader would have been more effective. He would have kept his composure and fostered dialog with the troubled team member. The channels of open communication toward a resolution could have been kept open with a higher degree of care, finesse and intentional effort. But, the prerequisite for this to happen is a leader must become aware of his/her internal state.

The Mechanism of Negativity

Extensive research has demonstrated that each person has an average of 60,000 thoughts a day. That is one thought per person, per second in every waking hour! Surprisingly, 95 percent of those thoughts are the same thoughts repeated every day. On average, 80 percent of those habitual thoughts are negative. It is this phenomenon that makes negativity so readily accepted. They’re all doing it! But……you don’t have to. When you recognize and understand this blind spot, you have a choice.

This is why I am creating discussion and understanding around negativity because when you recognize and understand the structure and mechanism of what is holding you back you are free. You say Ahaaaaaa….I now know why I do that. Now I can recognize, intercept and manage those feelings before I act on them. No longer am I directed by my thoughts. You go from being controlled by your thoughts to being in control your thoughts. And thus, you control your actions. Your better angels are now able to come out from hiding.

Many leaders, managers and supervisors wrongly assume that if you don’t have negative feelings like anger, hate, and resentment you are a wet noodle and you get nothing accomplished. This is false. Remember, negativity binds and creates blockage. It shrinks or causes a contraction in energy, ideas and effort. Negativity inhibits energy. Becoming aware, we dissolve the blind spot that leaders miss.

What you have without the negative undertone is an opening, or an awareness that creates and releases energy. You view the situation in totality. You detach from an angry, emotional response and a higher degree of finesse comes in. You see the situation and you see your anger around the situation and you realize that there are more perspectives than the one perspective that is not just limiting but debilitating. When you drop your negative opinion of the team member situation, in an instant you become more effective, more like the leader you want to be.

This is the beginning of transformation. Recognizing and understanding is the line between the old you and the transformed you, the new, aware, insightful and enlightened you. From this place technique is supplanted by essence. Essence is defined as the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something.

The bar has been raised. The blind spot is replaced with indispensable human essence leadership.

 

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© Brian Braudis 2018, All rights reserved

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