Seeing Around a Blind Spot

I had a challenging series of conversations with tech support representatives over a problem that was enormously frustrating. At one point, a supervisor kept repeating the same instruction to me despite my telling her that I didn’t understand what she was saying.

Her solution was to say it again in a louder voice.

After reviewing this conversation multiple times in my head over the next couple of hours, I realized what she hadn’t clearly articulated. It was so obvious to her that she didn’t say it, and it was so Greek to me that I was clueless.

Have you ever experienced something like this in your leadership role, for example, feeling frustrated by your people not understanding what you’re talking about?

When you receive blank stares or dazed expressions, it’s almost a guarantee that two different languages are being spoken. And, of course, Murphy’s Law adds to the challenge since these communication breakdowns nearly always happen when you’re rushed, on deadline, or swamped.

When this happens, it’s essential to step back and identify where the disconnect has occurred. You may not be able to see it immediately because you’re wrapped up in it, but if you let it go or ignore it, the already wobbly communication is likely to break down further.

Step back and look at your message with fresh eyes. Talk through it with someone or diagram it on paper so that you can follow your thought sequence.

When you discover the solution, you’ll be surprised that the answer was so close that it’s amazing that you didn’t see it.

That’s why it’s called a blind spot.

“The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice.”
– R. D. Laing

Header image by Yan krukau/

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