Uncovering Your Professional Blind Spots

What's keeping you from reaching your full potential?

Posted Mar 08, 2013

Throughout this blog series, I’ve shared some classic blind spots that seem to be most common in derailing careers and preventing even the most brilliant people from reaching their full potential. Virtually everyone can quickly think of a co-worker who matches some of the profiles described. Perhaps you even identified closely with one of the case studies. Based on my experiences from years of coaching, I can tell you that it is quite common for people to see glimpses of themselves in many of the blind-spot stories. 

May hope is that you have gained some insight to help you recognize and correct professional blind spots—whatever they are, however they are blended, and whenever they show up.   

For those of you who want a more specific roadmap, I do want to leave you with some tools to help you pinpoint and correct your own personal blind spots. The four steps that follow should prove to be quite valuable: 

1. Increase your self-awareness.

Before you can determine whether other people are defining your professional reputation exactly in the manner you’d prefer, you’ll want to fully understand your own goals and intentions. How would you like to be perceived? What is your ideal reputation?To find those answers, you’ll need to increase your own self-awareness. 

2. Seek out candid feedback.

Regardless of your goals and ideals, what is your actual reputation in the workplace? Uncomfortable or not, we need to know how we’re perceived. And that means we need to ask! While this conclusion might seem obvious, many people think that making an educated guess is good enough. Not true. To get an accurate picture of our blind spots, we must gather actual feedback from those who have real experience interacting with us. 

As an alternative, I invite you to visit my website at www.SaraCanaday.com for more information about my Career Acceleration workbook. This self-paced guide includes a concise, ready-to-use feedback survey you might find helpful, as well as a unique method for quantifying and even graphing your perception gaps in 12 distinct categories. 

However you decide to gather your feedback, just do it. 

3. Close the gaps.

Once you’ve gathered honest feedback, you’ll have what you need to answer the big question: what’s the difference between what you intend (your ideal reputation) and what they perceive (your actual reputation)? If the intentions and perceptions don’t match, you’ve uncovered a blind spot. Sometimes the newly found blind spot doesn’t really impact your career, and you can simply file the information away in your brain for future reference. In other instances though, you’ve discovered a clear opportunity for improvement by closing the perception gaps. 

4. Be prepared for change.

Our business environment today is in a constant state of change—the economy, the needs of our customers, the products and services our companies offer, the competition, the technology we employ, the members of our teams.  You can’t assume that the attributes you’ve worked so hard to nudge into that “sweet spot” range will still be optimal six months from now or when you’re suddenly working with a new global team. 

I hope you’ll be able to apply these concepts long after you’ve read the final post in this series, and I sincerely hope it gives you a competitive advantage with unparalleled success.