Blind Spots and Valor

What do blind spots have to do with leading with valor? On paper, these two ideas may not seem to fit together, but I just witnessed an inspiring example of just how congruent they are.

Recently, a prominent leader in healthcare talked with me about the far-reaching conversations she was having with other leaders in the field. These structured dialogues focus on, and potentially help to shape, the seismic changes occurring on the American healthcare landscape. While she briefly alluded to the “meat” of these gatherings, her bigger focus was on herself and how she was showing up.

In particular, she was concerned about her potential blind spots. She questioned whether she was actually open to hearing the different, equally learned, opinions offered by healthcare’s other stakeholders.

This colleague was not coming from a place of insecurity. Far from it – this is an accomplished leader who is widely acknowledged for her expertise. In my view, she was coming from a foundation of confidence and self-awareness. She was exhibiting courage – and valor – by tuning into to her own intuition.

In our dialogue, she explored potential internal barriers such as her conviction that she is right and others are wrong. She talked about how such a belief could be preventing her from being open to finding common ground. She also identified a few simple ways in which she could genuinely be more curious and less judgmental.

In the end, our chat produced a few outcomes – hers were deeper self-awareness and several strategies to overcome her self-identified blind spots. Mine was an abiding respect for a leader who is willing to ask – and answer – a valiant question:  am I hampering progress because of my blind spots?   

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