When driving a car, you have to constantly check your blind spots in order to avoid an accident especially when you are changing lanes. Looking to the right and the left several times hopefully ensures that fellow motorists or motorcyclists are not in your path. The ones who did get hit usually are distracted by texting or some other activity that they should not be doing at that time.
Operating a vehicle is not the only time we have to watch our blind spots. As a Human Capital Leadership & Development Specialist for many years, I have witnessed many people doing things that they are not even aware of. As an example when I am assisting my clients to prepare for an interview several of them will look up or sideways when thinking about an answer to my question. Others play with their hair or fiddle with their jewelry or clothes. Others do things that are hard to describe in a blog! Once I point these out, they usually look a bit surprised because they are not aware they are doing it.
Another area that people seem blind to is the words they choose. I have stopped my students, clients, and participants in my workshops when they start to ask a question by saying “this may be a dumb question but…” I point out to them that others probably want to ask the same question but kudos to this person for having the guts to ask it. “I’m sorry” is another phrase that seems to be overused. Many people admit to me that they say it often even for things they have no control over. If you are truly sorry about something I would suggest saying “I apologize for…” and give a reason. It is much more meaningful to the recipient.
Lastly, I have observed that many unacceptable behaviors go unnoticed by the person themselves or they are blind (or is it accepting?) to others’ behaviors. For us who have kids we have experienced our children misbehaving in public but it surprises me when some parents don’t do anything about it. In the business world, it also happens; some people may exhibit low EQ by acting up and throwing tantrums as an example. It is totally acceptable to disagree with someone and share your opinion but it is important to act like a mature person and do it respectively. In addition, back up your argument with solid facts versus assumptions and do research on the person you are dealing with. You may think you know more than the other person but in reality most give weak comebacks, are clueless about the topic, or don’t properly keep abreast of current trends and best practices. It is like negotiating meaning you need to prepare otherwise you won’t come across as the professional you supposedly are.
The gist of all of this is being more self aware. Ask others how they perceive you and what areas they think you can improve upon. Reflect on your own behaviors after a meeting, presentation, or event. Bottom line is be open to your blind spots so as to avoid a crash – some could be serious and life changing.