Lent Project Day 22: Beware!

Photo by Noelle Otto. White horizontal PVC blinds, closed, but with someone peeking through a gap.

I’m part of a leadership program at $dayJob. One of the activities we’ve done is a 360 review. You ask a bunch of people to give feedback on their interactions with you. Ideally, you have a mix of people within your team and on cross functional teams. Some in your management hierarchy, some peers, some direct reports (if you have such a thing, which I don’t). Anyway, I asked a peer who I knew would be very candid, even if he thought it might not be well received. I told him that I was looking for candor more than I was looking to be praised. I got the report back last week. The On A Scale of 1 to 5 question results were grouped into two buckets – hidden talents (things people rated higher than you rated yourself) and blind spots (things that you rated yourself higher than others rated you). There were no surprises in mine. I am appreciated for my ability to explain complex processes with good analogies (heh!) I do what I say I’m going to do (true). I can be brusque (agree). If younger writers are looking to me for example, I need it to be modelled on good behavior (also agree). So easy fixes then. Be more charming, less bitchy, and continue to get good results. Easypeasy.

Which brings us to the Ides of March (yesterday). Julius Caesar’s friend tried to warn him. He had a huge blind spot and thought he was dagger-proof. Yeah, notsomuch.

Sometimes, you can look at a situation and say to yourself, “Self, there’s no way this ends well”. Other times, you’re picking the gravel out of your road rash before you even know you’d started the high-speed wobble. We all seem to have sizeable blind spots when we look at ourselves. We’re pretty amazing at distorting our thoughts to bend them to our stubborn will.

Maybe Julius Caesar should have trusted his advisers more. Maybe less. He can be the cautionary tale of listening to your friends and colleagues. At the furthest extreme, it can be life-saving. But for most of us, it’s adjusting our mirrors so that the blind spots aren’t so all-encompassing.

This Lent, may I provide the kind of help that’s needed whenever I can, and may I accept help when I need it myself.

Extra Credit:

I’ve created landing pages for the last 2 years of Lent Project. You can access them from the Reflections Projects option in the menu bar. Happy reading, friends!

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