Lead with Love: Blind Spots, Self-Leadership, Self-Love

Lead with Love: Blind Spots, Self-Leadership, Self-Love

emotional intelligence - self actualization emotional intelligence - self regard lead with love Mar 11, 2022

Even the best leaders have blind spots. Blind spots serve a purpose by making the playing field more even. However, blind spots can be especially dangerous for leaders when blinds spots affect their ability to lead with love: doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right spirit.

As Steven Snyder wrote in Leadership and the Art of Struggle

“Blind spots are the product of an overactive automatic mind and an underactive reflective mind.” 

Psychologist and economist Daniel Kahneman describes the blind spot concept in Thinking Fast and Slow . Kahneman highlights that our fast, automatic mind reaches conclusions (judgments) quickly, impulsively, typically prematurely, and frequently incorrectly. On the other hand, our slow, reflective mind challenges assumptions, generates alternatives, and objectively evaluates and analyzes them.

In my work in emotional intelligence leadership, I see fast impulsive thinking happening frequently. Interestingly, fast thinking is highly valued as a leadership skill. I would argue that this reverence for fast thinking is misplaced and a blind spot in itself.

The following are examples of where and how leadership blind spots show up for many leaders affecting their ability to lead with love and the interesting connection with two realms of emotional intelligence. If you would like to investigate the connection further, download the complimentary EQ mini plan via the link is below:

Decision Making – Impulse Control, Reality Testing, Problem Solving

In the realm of Decision Making, I coach clients in developing their impulse control, reality testing, and problem solving. I empathize with my clients who are expected to make critical decisions quickly. Regulating impulse control and reality testing requires slow thinking which in turn requires more energy. Fast thinking, as revered as it is, actually causes a higher incidence of leadership blind spots which in turn causes ineffective problem solving and poor decision-making.

The pandemic has highlighted examples of leadership blind spots in decision making resulting in irreparable consequences. Possibly the most epic failure in leading with love when defined as - doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right spirit.

Self-Perception – Emotional Self-Awareness, Self-Regard, Self-Actualization

Most of us have a blind spots affecting self-leadership. We fail to "see" and acknowledge our good qualities and good deeds. On the contrary, we tend to magnify our flaws and mistakes. Whether or not we are self-aware, this tendency negatively impacts our self-regard and self-actualization (confidence, happiness, well-being). When self-criticism goes unchallenged, the results cause more harm and suffering for ourselves – and for others around us. The more we deny these blind spots, the more miserable we become. A distorted image of Self emerges which is not the truth. On the contrary, we are loving and compassionate beings. The distorted image reinforces a loop of inner dialogue that can keep us stuck – emotionally isolated, uncaring, and in worst cases, mean spirited and harmful. With a slower reflective mind, we can change the stories we tell ourselves that result from habitual fast thinking. We can then liberate ourselves to - doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right spirit.

Therein lies the motivation for embracing a Practice of Self-Love (aka Emotional Self-Care)

We begin with our Self because while we may not have the capacity or ability to bring peace in areas where the world is hurting, we can build our own loving resources and project our compassionate energy out to those who are suffering.

Give it a try. Observe how this practice slows your thinking to address any situation in which a blind spot could have (or has had) a negative affect your decision making and your self-perception.

First, take a deep breath to slow your pace and clear your mind. Begin to expand your mind to see the whole picture. Now for the inner work...

  • Control the impulse to beat yourself up.
  • Engage in reality testing. "Is what I see/feel true?"
    • How would you feel if your best friend made the same choice or acted in a similar manner. From this perspective, the situation might not look so bad or the threat might not be real.
  • Engage in emotional problem-solving. Engage your wisdom.
    • Think back to something you did that was loving and kind. Linger in that memory to rebalance your feelings about yourself.
    • Practise self-forgiveness. 
  • Re-evaluate your self-perception.
    • Give yourself a break. You are a good person.

Close with loving-kindness meditation. I have experienced the power of this meditation my own and within groups like in a yoga class or in a cancer-healing program.

I begin with myself:

  • May I be happy
  • May I be well
  • May I be safe
  • May I be peaceful and at ease

The way we treat ourselves matters more than we realize. Self-compassion empowers us to work through difficult moments of our own life with more resilience and grace. We are then better equipped to lead others in a healthy loving way.

What do you think?  I’d love to hear from you.

You can reach me on LinkedIn. Or click to Get in Touch.

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