Blind spots in our careers can lead to the same result as blind spots in our cars: unintended mishaps and expensive damage.
Professional blind spots occur when intentions and perceptions don’t match…when there’s a disconnect between the way we believe we’re projecting ourselves…and the way others experience us. There are hidden gaps. And because of those gaps, our professional reputation is not what we imagined. That’s how promising careers suddenly get stuck with no apparent explanation.
One side of the blind spot issue is when we misjudge some of our own attributes. There’s a fine line between confident and arrogant. Between intelligent and condescending. Between innovative and rebellious. Know anyone like that in your office? Great intentions…but they just don’t translate. Subtle behaviors and unconscious habits are sabotaging their success, and they simply can’t see it.
On the flip side, we might be oblivious to a reputation gap in our own favor. That’s when others revere some of our skills and talents that we brush off as unimportant. When we undervalue ourselves, we are limiting our own potential.
Clearly, there are two sides to the blind spot coin.
So how do we know if blind spots are stalling our career progress? We can’t fix the problem if we don’t know it’s there. That means we have to ask. We need feedback. From our trusted colleagues, co-workers and clients. Anyone who can share an outside perspective that might give us a glimpse at the blind spots holding us back.
BTW, If feedback is so critical to success, why do we hesitate or even avoid it. On the one hand we want to learn and grow, but we also want to be accepted just the way we are. The two run counter. Add to that that we may have had previous experiences with feedback that didn’t go so well. I get it, asking for feedback can be scary.
But here is the deal, if we want to advance in our careers we need to get better at getting feedback so we can identify our reputation gaps and to be more aware of our impact on others. When we work to reduce our blind spots, we can move forward to a more successful future.