We all have blind spots in our personal makeup. Sometimes we need feedback from others to bring them to our awareness. Blind spots result from poor self-awareness and self-knowledge, and might manifest as saying one thing and doing another. Blind spots can be a liability to your career strategy when mistakes made and shortcomings possessed fail to produce a change in awareness or knowledge of them.
Peak performers are not without their deficiencies; however, peak performers are aware of them, can improve on them, or can partner with others who possess the competency they lack.
Admitting to mistakes or shortcomings can be a difficult proposition for some. “Saving face” always backfires, as does having others assume an “Emperor’s New Clothes” attitude, colluding with your denial. It’s never a good idea to obscure the truth as that only prevents real gains in productivity or effectiveness.
Here are eight blind spots* that anyone on any rung of the career ladder can possess:
Runaway ambition: Winning at all cost, exaggerates accomplishments, arrogant
Unrealistic goals: Sets overly ambitious, unattainable goals for group; unrealistic about effort required
Relentless striving: Compusive overachiever who sacrifices everything else, vulnerable to burnout
Drives others: Catalyst for burnout of others, prefers to micromanage rather than delegate; abrasive, insensitive
Power hungry: Seeks power for self-interest rather than organization’s; exploits others for personal gain
Recognition hound: Addicted to glory, takes credit for others’ success; short on follow-through
Preoccupation with appearances: Style over substance, concerned more with image than results; craves prestige
Need to appear perfect: Visibly angered by criticism; blames others for failure; can’t admit mistakes/weaknesses
When your self-awarness and self-knowledge are healthy, blind spots are more often than not behaviors or patterns you’ll recognize yourself. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek honest feedback on how others perceive you and your actions.
*(from a study by Robert E. Kaplan and also referenced in Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence.)
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Former Fortune 500 hiring manager Donn LeVie Jr. is the author of Strategic Career Engagement (September 2015), and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies: Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers). He leads career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations.
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