Why we need criticism

We all have blind spots that hinder performance and keep us from achieving our goals.  Blind Spots are personality traits and/or unhealthy behaviors that we don’t see but are often evident to others.  They sometimes prevent us from having meaningful interactions with others, winning deals, getting promotions, and seeing the big picture.

I worked with a C-level executive who would rage whenever challenged.  They were very smart, but because of their behavior when pressured, it was hard to talk things out and resolve issues together.  It was their way or the highway and this eventually led to their dismissal.  They had a blind spot.  If they had accepted criticism and changed this one major personality flaw, they could have been great.

Previously, I reported to Larry Tankeloff, a man who dedicated his life to the credit union industry.  We were discussing plans for future growth.  Larry looked at me and said, “Jim, you are trying to do too much”.  He challenged whether I had the capital or resources to complete such ambitious plans.  I explained my position, but Larry disagreed.  Then he said, “…you are going to be so far out in front of everyone that you are going to look back and no one will be behind you.  I want you to be successful, but you are trying to do too much.”  In the end, I adjusted, narrowed the focus, and everything worked out for the best.  Larry saw my blind spot and offered excellent criticism.


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