There’s a Reason Blind Spots are Called Blind Spots

If only we knew what we don’t know.

If you are in a leadership role, you likely take the responsibility of developing people very seriously. But how many times have we stubbed our toes because we simply didn’t know that a person is actually very different than how they present themselves?

We didn’t know that Jennifer was naturally strong in task-oriented positions and preferred to work on projects by herself. She got along with everyone so well we assumed she naturally had strong relationship building skills. We didn’t know that she dug deep every day to be the “people person” she was expected to be because, well, that was her job. She burned out and left the company within 1.5 years.

We didn’t know that Mark had a preference for routine and was resistant to change. He was always the one who raised his hand for new assignments when opportunities came along. We didn’t know he did this because he had an underlying fear of being seen as incompetent so to secure his standing he signed up for more and more projects to make himself “indispensable”. He too burned out and left the company in 2 years.

We didn’t know that Brenda made decisions based on data and was high conformity, finding comfort in defined rules. When the opportunity came up for Brenda to move into a more fluid role, we thought she would love the opportunity to stretch her wings. Instead Brenda felt very stressed, started procrastinating on assignments and missing work. She left the company shortly thereafter.

We often see people as they present themselves, not how they are naturally wired. Why? Because we are all adults and sometimes we do things we don’t particularly like because we are grownups and that’s what the job calls for. But when forced to do these things continually for too long, we just cannot do it – and leave.

If you see that maybe you too have been seeing people for how they present themselves, rather than how they naturally are, and it is affecting retention and team-building efforts, it may be time to dig in deeper and learn about their natural strengths, personality, interests and learning styles with data-based assessments.