Why we need help to discover what is hiding in plain sight

I was walking a familiar route near home when a woman who was approaching from the opposite direction disappeared into the bushes. Where did she go, I wondered? As I got closer to where she had disappeared, I discovered a pedestrian laneway I had never seen before, even though I have walked past it hundreds of times over the years. It is a narrow path between houses through to the next block. It amazed me I had never seen it. There it was, hiding in plain sight.

Sometimes it takes someone else to show us what we may have missed. But for the disappearing woman I would have continued to miss the laneway. Things can hide in plain sight from us in our personal and professional lives, too. Often it takes someone else to point out what we may miss because we are too close to notice.

It often surprises people to discover some aspect of their behaviour that is hiding in plain sight in their executive coaching program. Some examples include:

  • Allowing impostor syndrome to sell themselves short
  • Not modelling the behaviour, they expect of others 
  • Being a control freak who does not allow others to shine
  • Confusing their position title with influence
  • Solving day-to-day problems instead of the strategic challenges
  • Lack of clarity about their key strength 

In the HBR article, Anyone Can Learn to Be a Better Leader, Monique Valcour suggests, “Leading well requires a continuous journey of personal development. Yet people in leadership roles often eschew the long and challenging work of deepening self-insight in favor of chasing after management “tools”— preferably the “quick ’n’ easy” kind, such as personality type assessments that reduce employees to a few simplistic behavioral tendencies. Tools can be handy aids to good leadership. But none of them can take the place of fearless introspection, feedback seeking, and committed efforts to behavioral change for greater effectiveness and increased positive impact on others.”

🙋Have you discovered something valuable about yourself that was hiding in plain sight? 🙋‍♀️

Best regards, Brian

Laneway hiding in plain sight
Hiding in plain sight