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Beware: Leadership Blindspots

Blindspots. You know the feeling. You are traveling down the highway, listening to your favorite podcast, focused on your upcoming meeting, and you decide to change lanes. If you are lucky, at that moment an alarm on your car warns you to stay put. There is a truck in the lane next to you. If you aren’t lucky enough to have that equipment on your car, you slide into the next lane and well, you know what could happen. Hopefully, you avoid the crash. Your adrenalin races and you remember that you have to pay attention when driving. Blind spots cause over 800,000 car and truck accidents per year in the United States.

The same scenario has been applied to leadership. Blindspots in relationship building, communication, emotional intelligence, and cultural sensitivity can put leaders in deep professional peril. In reality, we all have these blindspots. Some are better at anticipating and avoiding relational accidents, while others learn from experience and reflection. The problem is too many of these “accidents” can undermine the best plans and intentions. Waiting to learn from experience is not a good strategy for really great leaders.

In the health professions and higher education, blind spots can be truly devastating. The result of “moving into the wrong lane” can produce team dissatisfaction, poor student learning, or devastating health consequences for patients.

The solution: get regular feedback, anticipate consequences, listen deeply, observe, be deliberate in both communication and tangible support. And when the “accident” occurs, own your responsibility, apologize for your mistake, and be sure that the relationship remains solid.

I’m happy to talk to you about how to deal with blind spots in health professions education or in your clinical practice. Contact me:

To Be Continued……

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