5 Ways to Uncover Your Talent Blind Spots

Blind Spot 210Most articles on blind spots are written about leaders and their blind spots. OK, in the interest of transparency, even I’ve written a couple in that same vein The RX for Diagnosing and Curing Blind Spots and  Seeing Your Blind Spots

People at all levels in all organizations have a blind spot about something. Since leaders in the C-Suite bear a lot of responsibility, blind spots can be expensive and therefore garner the most attention. However, regular people, like you and me with the non-leadership salaries, need to be just as aware of our own blind spots that you may think don’t matter. And why is that?

  • Self-Awareness Blind Spot

Self-awareness is the basis for strategic thinking, leadership, and EQ (Emotional Quotient). It’s also important to be self-aware abut your talent. Many of us have talents we do with such ease and so little effort that we often don’t recognize these activities as talent. Here are a couple of examples.

Delivering presentations is often a part of many people’s business roles. Unfortunately, public speaking is typically an activity that creates feelings of horror and the preference of death over standing up in front of a group to speak. However, for others public speaking is like breathing, it’s a natural part of their existence. On the other side of their mouth, there is a blind spot about public speaking being a talent. It’s just something they “don’t mind doing”.  What’s the point? Uncovering this blind spot and understanding how to use this talent, can help increase your personal power, build your career, grow your business, and encourage others to see you as a leader.

Writing is an everyday activity for anyone and everyone in business today beginning with emails. Some people write well, others struggle with it. Some people stare at a blank piece of paper or computer screen until beads of blood form of their foreheads. For many people who write as easily as falling off a log have a blind spot that the ability to write and write effectively is a true talent. This communication skill is useful from the “lowly” email, to reports, summaries, legal documents, proposals, and books. The saying, “The pen is mightier than the sword” has meaning in numerous ways, not just the press. Uncovering your blind spot can help you make your boss look good if he/she has weak writing skills. This can increase your value. Writing on social media can set you apart as an expert and the “go to” person for a topic you enjoy. It always amazes me that people think that just because they have a j-o-b that there is no reason for them to do such an activity.  Of course, you may have to have disclaimers or waivers from your organization. A person who illustrates what I mean is Patrick Henz. Although Patrick  has a full-time job in compliance he has a dedicated interest in AI (Artificial Intelligence and Enzo Ferrari). Patrick both recognizes his talents and understands how to use them to help others understand these two topics.

  • Being Yourself Blind Spot

One source Help Your Employees Be Themselves at Work, has an interesting spin on uncovering or helping your employees to be who they are at work to better use their talent. The article suggests that a percentage of certain groups hide or downplay who they are. Examples include:

  • 83% LBGT Individuals
  • 79% African American
  • 67% of Women of Color
  • 66% Women
  • 63% Hispanics
  • 45% Straight White Males

Some may be more obvious than others. For example, some of these groups have endured blatant discrimination. Whereas others may not be that obvious. A woman, regardless of ethnicity, may downplay that she has children so she will be taken more seriously at work.  A straight white male may be struggling with a mental disorder, a chronic illness, or doesn’t want to reveal his age for fear of losing his job.

The point is that it takes energy and other resources to deal with hiding these elements about self. Therefore, it takes away from using their talent to benefit both them and the organization. The idea is that the organization needs to develop its own talent in creating a culture that welcomes diversity so that no one feels the need to hide any part of self…especially their own talent.

  • Understanding Others Blind Spot

Some people may understand others even more than they understand themselves. How would this talent revel itself to you? Do you work with people who are in the wrong job? Do you see people who are unsuccessful because they are unable to get out of their own way? Do you know young people who are pursuing the wrong path of study in school?

If other people say, “You know, I think Danny might do better in HR rather than payroll”.  A friend may say, “I’ve been holding myself back by denying that I have a talent for writing songs”.  Or the individual may finally get a clue and say, “I’m thinking about switching my major from environmental conservation to hospitality”. If you knew these things all along, then you may have had a blind spot about this amazing talent. This is a talent that fits nicely in human resources, coaching, or management. Once you uncover this blind spot, you can build a solid career using it in many areas.

  • Non-Business Talent Blind Spot

Many people have talents they use outside work such as playing in a band, arts and crafts, or mountain biking. What many have a blind spot about is that a part or parts of those talents can be applied at work. Here is a list one source suggests:

  • Musician – Detail
  • Dancer – Perseverance, persistence, and poise
  • Martial Arts – Persistence, self-control, stress management
  • Mountain biking – Logistics (OK, this one’s mine, but I thought it might fit.)

Now ask yourself about the “non-business” talents you have and how you might be applying them at work.

  • Personal Accountability Blind Spot

Is having personal accountability a talent? If you manage employees who don’t have personal accountability you might wish that had this “talent”. But the connection here is do you have a blind spot about the development of your own talent? The argument can be made that this fits under the self-awareness blind spot. However, many people wait around for the organization to see the need and provide the solution even though they might see a need for a certain element that will contribute to their own development.

The millennials want development. They want it to remain loyal to your organization, otherwise they will hit the door. However, they are eager to learn and will often take accountability for their own talent development. Of course, they grew up on Google and think nothing of attending online webinars and such to get the training they might need to fill the gaps in their development. Other generations may feel it is the responsibility of the organization to first know what they need for development and then provide it at no cost to the employee.

The first step is to understand what it is you may need to grow your career, change careers, or start a business. Then ask yourself if you are willing to pay the price to obtain the elements you need? Or do you have a blind spot around that? Then ask yourself how you can obtain what you need to move forward. This doesn’t mean you never ask for help, but one of you must get the ball rolling and I dare say I don’t think your boss, mentor, coach, or even your mother has a crystal ball. Personal accountability is a blind spot you must take ownership of to move forward in your career and in life.

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