How to Discover Your Leadership Blind Spots (the Hard Way)

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Do you have a truth-teller you can turn to for feedback?

As leaders, it can be difficult to find people who will give it to us straight. People who will help us address our “blind spots.”

Like most cars, most leaders have blind spots – areas where we have trouble seeing clearly. Either we are too busy to identify our blind spots or pride stands in the way of us recognizing them.

That’s why all great leaders need a truth-teller.

A truth-teller is a person who will communicate the last 10%. A person who will tell us the truth even when we don’t want to hear it.

Do you have a truth-teller you can turn to for feedback? If not, it’s important to know what to look for when selecting one.

Here are five traits of a reliable truth-teller:

1. Trustworthy

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First and foremost, you have to trust your truth-teller. You want a person who does not have a history of gossip. Someone with great integrity. Someone you respect. A person you know you can rely on no matter what happens.

2. Caring

This person must care about you as an individual. They must have deep interest in your success and future. They must always have your best interests in mind. This person should be more than just an associate; he/she should be a friend.

3. Honest

It’s right there in the name: truth-teller. This person must be honest with you in every situation (whether you want to hear what they’re saying or not). They need to be inherently bold. Not rude. But willing to open yours eye and push you in the right direction.

4. Positive

Avoid the negative people who always see the glass as half empty. You need a person who is encouraging and uplifting. Someone who will help you see potential and opportunity. You should walk away from each conversation feeling challenged and excited.

5. Committed

Your truth-teller must be “all in.” They have to be 100% committed. They should never miss a scheduled meeting. They should initiate meetings. And they should stay connected to you on a frequent basis (whether through meetings, phone, calls, e-mails, etc.).

But it’s not only on them. In order for your truth-teller to be effective, you need to nurture the relationship.

Tim Peters Tim is creator of Sayge and a ten year church communications veteran. Sayge is an intentional, all-in-one, church marketing and communications monthly training resource that is designed to help Church Leaders master the basics of church marketing and communications.

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  • peterhamm

    Needs to be “confidential”, too. The last thing you need is having your truth-teller discussing what’s wrong with what you’re doing with everyone except you.

  • Slave2Christ

    Thanks Tim. Well said. You are spot on in that the most important aspect of this truth is that we be willing to lay down our pride to hear. As ministers, may we never send Pride to the front line of our daily battles. (Prov. 16:18)
    May we allow God to put our ears to work as conduit to our hearts.
    Proverbs 23:12 “Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to the word of knowledge”

  • Cheryl

    A question to ask your self is are you listening to what is said verbally or what the Holy Spirit is revealing to you? A question I have to ask my self frequently. It is so much easier to listen to what is said rather than listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

  • Cheryl

    What is the truth based on? The truth of man or the truth of God?

  • Drae

    This truly has been a blessing for me. The biggest problem with being the truth teller is if that person is willing to receive the truth and not be blinded by their own pride or super saint mindset. If you got the right kind of truth teller as you so described here then at the very least you can be the right type of truth receiver. I have a friend who I try and minister to and our friendship is deeply rooted in God, but sometimes his “i’ve been ministering and walking with the Lord longer” mindset tends to supersede him receiving anything that doesn’t line up with his way of thinking. This is why I usually if not always have to take my concerns to the Lord first before I even engage serious conversation so as not to offend but to correct and advise in love and not self-righteousness.