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Your leadership blind spot could be your growth sweet spot

Have you ever wondered what others see in you that you might be missing?
Leaders love to bring out in others what they themselves can’t yet see. You can probably think of a recent example where you did just that for someone on your team.

But when last did someone do it for you?

If you’re a senior or executive leader, chances are not too recently. I know because it’s one of the main reasons my coaching clients seek out my services.
Senior leaders need to consciously create circumstances that’s conducive to growth if they don’t want to stagnate.

The leader’s barrier to growth
When you’ve reached a certain level of success in your career, subordinates and even peers are much less likely to call out potential areas of growth than when you were more junior.
The thing is, as Marshall Goldsmith says in his book by the same title: what got you here won’t get you there.

Your current leadership brand has enabled you to get to where you are today. However, you need to rebrand yourself just like a business does. Whether it’s to stay relevant in a changing market or to take new ground, you need to rebrand yourself if you want to reach the next level in your leadership journey.

Start with yourself
A natural place to want to start self-transformation is with yourself:
● Pause and reflect
● Identify your strengths
● Identify areas of yourself that need further development or that bother you
● Ask yourself what’s the one thing that will give your career a boost
● Rely on your inner source

Those are all valid strategies, but they are limited to your own perspective. It means that you might be missing a crucial shortcoming or strength that you could grow.
You can widen that perspective by getting input from others.

Get input from others
Eliciting and interpreting feedback from others is not always as simple as it seems. Many people feel intimidated to give candid feedback to their leader or someone they see as successful. As leaders with strong opinions, we can also easily dismiss or miss important nuances in feedback.

A very useful technique for getting input from others is the Johari Window. It helps you see more of yourself by asking for others’ perspectives. This technique is especially helpful for soliciting feedback from people who wouldn’t normally feel comfortable sharing their views of you, like subordinates or those with less power in an organisation.

If you want feedback from peers, superiors, mentors, friends, or family, you could simply ask them for input without using a structured technique. I find feedback from spiritual mentors and friends especially insightful since they don’t only rely on their minds and emotions but also on their spirits.

As the one receiving feedback, be an active listener. Listen carefully on a deeper level to what a person is attempting to tell you they need from you. They often won’t spell it out, and they themselves might not even know what they are trying to say. Also listen and look for connections and patterns between different people and situations using your body, soul and spirit.

Active listening also means being open to both positive and negative feedback. Some people tend to think of personal growth as improving what they’re bad at. However, growth could also involve uncovering or practicing a neglected strength.

Create your own magic
We aren’t able to predict the future, also not who the future you will be. However, by asking for feedback and actively engaging in recreating your personal leadership brand, you’re creating possible scenarios. By being intentional and engaged, you’re increasing your chances of success and progress.

It all comes back to believing in the magic of new growth. Instead of waiting for some magical solution to the problem of stagnated personal growth, you’re making the magic happen. And taking others along on the journey.

By Dr. Rean du Plessis
To book a session with Dr. du Plessis contact us at [email protected]