One advantage to having a job requiring travel is that you get to drive a variety of rental cars. I was excited on a trip to Baltimore about trying out the PT Cruiser; the car just looks cool. But I found it had the worst visibility of any rental car I had ever driven. I couldn’t see out of the thing. Oh, the front window was fine, but the side and rear panels blocked views I needed to drive safely. I was in the dark; the PT Cruiser just had too many blind spots.
My friend has a PT Cruiser problem. They were sharing with me a challenge confronting their organization and I asked if they had considered costing out a particular component. Their reaction was something like: “We can’t talk about that. If anyone brings up that topic, the boss stops all discussion.” What an odd response from a “leader.” And, it got me to thinking, where are my blind spots?
As leaders we may find that we just don’t see some things. We may not pick up on the nuance of an issue or notice a critical detail and we appreciate others pointing those things out to us. Those blind spots are unintentional and can be eliminated as we find them and put to use our new understanding.
Be aware that we may also have “intentional blind spots” about certain issues or people. These areas are more like bottomless holes. People around us learn that if they bring up those issues, or those individuals, we react badly. Perhaps we shut down and just don’t respond; or, we get defensive and immediately jump to defend our position; or, we become angry and strike out. I’ll grant you that our negative reaction may reflect past experiences that were real. But, do we need to continue to live as if our past is our future?
What is that “intentional blind spot” costing us, costing those around us, and costing our organizations?
As I thought about this issue of “intentional blind spots,” I remembered the story from Matthew 20. As Jesus was walking down the road to Jericho, two blind men called out to Him. He asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” Their response is my prayer today. “Lord, we want our sight.”
Spend a few minutes with me reflecting on our reactions to issues and people. Have we frozen others out when they come to us with what they think is a good idea? Do we jump to defend our views rather than letting conversations develop? Do we have blind spots that are keep us in the dark?
My prayer today is that I will find my intentional blind spots and let in the light. Lord, I want more sight.
(Want to read the Damascus road story? Go to Matthew 20:29-34.)