In any business, continuous employee growth is key to success. It’s easy to lose sight of professional development when we don’t keep it at the forefront. Quarterly conversations are not only a place for you and your employees to review performance, but also connect and understand their future growth and development in your organization. In particular, these scheduled meetings provide opportunities for discussing accomplishments, challenges, and goals for the upcoming quarter.

During quarterly conversations, you may discover blind spots that your employees have and are completely unaware of. Even for employees who are well-versed in self-reflection, it’s often difficult to see our work for what it truly is. Enter our topic for today: blind spots.

Two Types of Blind Spots

If you watched my video above, it wouldn’t surprise you to hear that there are two major types of blind spots our team members can have: being overly self-critical and lacking self-awareness. Both blind spots can be equally debilitating to our team members’ personal and professional growth, and helping them grow beyond their blind spots is a fantastic way to set them up for future success.

Let’s do a quick dive into the two types of blind spots and the impacts they can have on our team members.

Excessive Self-criticism

It’s natural for our team members to want to do their best, but at a certain point it becomes an issue. When employees find themselves in a negative spiral—thinking they can’t do enough, aren’t smart enough, will never be perfect enough—it’s an incredibly difficult place to dig out of.

Even when presented with a list of their accomplishments, employees may still have that “inside voice” that overshadows any positive feelings with negativity. Feelings of inadequacy start to fester, and the cycle goes on and on. This self-critical mindset can severely impact their confidence and progress with their work. 

Missing Their Action’s Impact

Look, I get it. We’re all human, and we all make mistakes. Sometimes we speak out of turn, or maybe something we say doesn’t quite come across the way we intended it. These once-off moments aren’t what we’re talking about regarding this blind spot.

Say you have a team member that often works with a difficult customer. If they constantly complain about that customer to other members of the team, they may not be aware of just how far that negativity could spread. And if that information gets back to the customer? There are a lot more than hurt feelings on the line.

Or maybe a new leader wants to be seen as a “buddy,” so they engage in the coffee talk where other people/leaders/decisions are questioned by agreeing with it, or even expressing their own frustrations. Feeding into this undermines their relationships with their own boss and other peers that see it as backstabbing, which is what I call a “trust buster.”

That said, it’s also possible for employees to underestimate the positive impact of their actions (which kind of feeds into what we talked about around excessive self-criticism!).

Is there a person on your team who, during hard times, always seems to have the ability to break the tension and lighten the mood? It’s entirely possible they have no idea how instrumental they are in keeping everyone’s spirits and productivity up.

In any case, lack of awareness leads to missed opportunities for acknowledging achievements and addressing areas for improvement.

Tips for Eliminating Blind Spots

Just because someone has a blind spot doesn’t mean they can’t grow beyond it. There are plenty of ways they can dig out of these blinded situations. But, in order to overcome blind spots in the workplace, employees need to be aware of them. That’s where their leader comes in.

Here are a few ways you can address your employees’ blind spots during quarterly conversations.

1. Recognize Employee Achievements 

As you spend time in the quarterly looking back at the previous three months, make sure you touch on the team member’s achievements. Especially for those who struggle with acknowledging the positive impact of their work, calling out their hard work can help both their morale and self-confidence. While it won’t magically cure their self-criticism, consistently celebrating achievements can help them start to turn their own mindset around and encourage them to look toward their positive impacts.

2. Consistently Provide Honest Feedback

This can be a tricky one, and this kind of trust is something leaders need to build up over time. Especially for employees who have dealt with overly-critical managers—especially micromanagers—any form of critique may feel like a personal attack.

But if you can toe the line and earn their trust, offering honest, constructive feedback is one of the best ways to help your team overcome both self-criticism and a lack of self-awareness.

3. Set Realistic Rocks

It isn’t always easy to establish what good rocks are for each team member, but quarterlies are a great time to get on the same page with team members. It’s important to work with them on clear, realistic goals to achieve within your organization so they know what “success” looks like.

With that said, “achievable” and “easy” are two very different things. By working together to identify the best rocks for them each quarter, you can empower your team members to overcome their blind spots and work toward personal, professional, and organizational goals. The added benefit: Completing rocks successfully creates a flywheel effect that builds self-confidence and trust from others.

4. Expand Their Mindset

There’s a great quote attributed to Albert Einstein that goes, “In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity.” I love this quote because, to me, it represents a total shift in mindset. While it’s possible to view a work challenge or a difficult rock as a burden or stressor, it’s possible to coach team members into seeing it a different way. Every single obstacle or difficulty is an opportunity to learn, evolve and grow. Helping your team shift into an opportunistic mindset is a great way to help them overcome their blind spots and gives a clearer view of their potential progress.

5. Discuss Strengths and Weaknesses

A huge part of self-awareness is understanding both strengths and weaknesses. The quarterly opens up a great opportunity to bring these to light, especially if a team member seems unaware of one or both. Ultimately, having quarterly conversations with them and discussing this topic can lead to better employee performance.

Employees who understand their strengths in their role can perform their jobs better. In my experience, they tend to be more effective, more likely to offer up their skills, and feel more satisfied with the work they produce. It’s just as important for employees to understand their weaknesses. It shows them areas where they can grow, or—in some cases—areas where they need to collaborate with others and bring in additional expertise.

Especially if there are areas where your team members may not understand the full extent of their strengths or weaknesses, this is a key area to address in quarterlies.

An advanced move for you as the leader in a quarterly conversation is to ask for feedback from your team members to explore your own blind spots. A simple question: How did I make your work or the team’s work harder this quarter?

Growth is Built on Trust…

…and trust takes time to build. But, even if this is a new area for your and your team, there’s no better time to start than now. In EOS, quarterlies offer great, consistent, regular opportunities to check in and establish trust between team members and leaders. By establishing that trust, leaders can open up the door to helping their teams work through their blind spots.

There’s isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to helping team members overcome their blind spots, but hopefully this blog has given you a good place to start. Sitting down and having quarterly conversations with your employees is one of the best ways you can help them succeed in your organization to achieve growth, development, and better self-awareness.

If you’d like to chat through this further, connect with me! You’ll find me regularly on LinkedIn, or you’re always welcome to send me an email at Also, if you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel where I upload free leadership and EOS resources about 2-3 times per month!

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