My favorite play as a high school wide receiver was the blindside block. I got hit hard plenty of times during a game crossing into the middle of the field to catch a pass. So when the blindside block play was called, meaning I was blocking for another player, it was my opportunity to catch those huge linebackers off guard. They never saw me coming because they were looking in the opposite direction.
Left vulnerable to an unseen outside force, hard hits can lead to permanent physical damage. Some effects don’t show up until years later. Thus, blindside blocks were made illegal in 2019 because of the potential serious bodily harm to players.
The way I see it…
Pastors can be blindsided by an unseen, outside force. Those we thought were friends and supporters suddenly become challengers or enemies. Sometimes the damage done to our souls doesn’t show up right away.
Guard yourself from being blindsided with these 4 truths.
- Feedback is your friend. Create a culture among your church members and leaders that it’s safe to give honest, constructive criticism. Being open to criticism is necessary to building trust and avoiding a toxic environment. Learn to value input from others and be vulnerable enough to admit you don’t always have the best idea/answer. And be careful not to insulate yourself with only yes men.
- Soul Care is important. Leading others when your own tank is half empty, spiritually starving or physically exhausted is a recipe for burnout. This Vulnerability leaves you wide open to being blindsided. There is nothing macho about telling yourself you can handle the pressure. Prioritizing self care above the church is not selfish, it’s healthy.
- Learn to read the room. Relational intelligence is recognizing the body language, verbal and nonverbal cues and temperment of the people around you. Learning to pick up on these clues can help you navigate relationships well. Whether it’s in a meeting, during a presentation or over lunch, learn to read the room.
- Coaches need coaching. Every leader needs a mentor who can help point out areas where a blindside hit might come from. Choose a mentor that will coach you on your strengths and weaknesses. As you grow in your competencies and character, continue to challenge you in your next growth area.
Robert Bruce Shaw in his book entitled, Leadership Blindspots, says “blind spots are the areas of unrecognized weakness that place leaders at risk because corrective action can’t be taken without an awareness of a need to do so.” That’s a powerful statement.
Have you experienced being blindsided? How did you react? What did you learn from it?