Leadership Blind Spots - Part 3
I was lost, my sat nav was taking me round in circles to everywhere but my intended destination, and I was getting perilously close to arriving late. In frustration, I pulled over at the side of a roundabout and punched another alternative address into my phone. I hastily checked my rearview mirror and, seeing that it was all clear, quickly pulled away…. and slammed on the break! In my frustration and hurry I had failed to check my blind spot, and very nearly paid for it.
If we do not check our leadership blind spots our ministry could be dangerously close to a crash that we didn’t see coming. That’s why we’ve taken three months to examine the things that could be significantly hampering our leadership potential though we are totally unaware of it. Let’s recap…
(Or read Part 1 and Part 2 in full here.)
Failure to Lead Up: When we focus only on leading our young people, and fail to properly engage our senior leaders in the process, resulting in frustration, failed plans and strained relationships.
People Pleasing: When the desire to be liked by everyone, or to try and pander to everybody’s needs, results in uninspiring ministry, lack of progress and mediocrity.
Perfectionism: When the perfectionist leader desires everything to be done their way, resulting in demotivated followers and unnecessary procrastination before acting on new ideas.
Lack of Focus: When attempting to do too many things results in accomplishing very few things.
Hidden Pride: When the leader who secretly believes they are better than the people around them diminishes their leadership capacity by missing opportunities for learning.
Straying out of your lane: When we give our time to things we were not uniquely created by God to do, resulting in frustration, diminishing passion and poor quality work!
So now that we’re all caught up, let’s jump into the final three leadership blind spots…
Aiming for Nothing
I am constantly surprised by how few leaders are working towards a clear, measurable goal. If that’s you the (sort of) good news is that if you aim for nothing you’ll hit it every time! The bad news is it’s your leadership blind spot. Without clearly defined goals we find ourselves going from day to day picking up what seems most urgent at the time. We don’t really have any purposeful direction, and our ultimate destination is being externally determined. But clearly defined and measurable goals have the power to bring to the surface of your life and schedule the things that matter most.
When you have a clear destination in mind, many of the decisions about what you will give your time to are already made for you, according to whether they will enable you to accomplish your goals or divert you off course. Everyone ends up somewhere in life; clearly defined goals enable you to end up somewhere on purpose!
For Reflection: Am I working towards clearly defined measurable goals, or do I spend my days loosely doing what seems to be most important at the time?
Ideas Without Execution
For most leaders, new ideas, dreams, concepts and visions are far more exciting than the hard work, sharp focus and deliberate organisation it takes to see those ideas become reality. All too often we are seduced by a new idea before we’re halfway through delivering on the last one. Our focus is drawn away from the original idea and we fail to finish what we started. It feels like we are taking ground because creativity is flowing, but in reality, very little is actually changing.
For Reflection: Do you have ideas then exit the journey before they become reality, or do you make ideas happen?
Unable (or unwilling) to Empower Others
Leadership is not about what we can get done, but what we are able to inspire others to become! We all too often confuse achievement with leadership… and it’s a blind spot.
When we focus on what we ourselves are able to accomplish, we limit our influence to our own capacity - our own time, skill set, intelligence and perspective - and thus we become the ceiling on our own leadership! When we attempt to do everything ourselves we fail to release others into their God-given potential. But empowering others is what leadership is all about. When we give others an opportunity to flourish and grow, we at once invest in them and release some pressure from ourselves. It’s a win/win!
For Reflection: Am I trying to get everything done myself, or am I intentionally creating opportunities for others to grow and flourish?
The very nature of a blind spot is that is something that is not visible to you, but clear to others looking on from a different perspective. So if you don’t know where your blind spots are, guess who does? Everybody else! The best way to identify your blindspots is to have an honest conversation with the people you work most closely, and ask them, “Is there an area I need to improve that I might not be aware of.” They’ll be hesitant at first, but push them for an honest answer. Give them time to go away and think about if necessary, and chase them up on it. And whatever you do, do not be defensive when they suggest something, or they will never do it again!
So go on, I dare you, check your blind spots. You’ll be glad you did….
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