Did you water my plants?

My wife Liz was away last week.

I coped. Men do you know. But her first question on returning caught me out. “Did you water my plants?”

You have plants?!

No, but I did this, and this, and then that as well. I did really well.

It turns out that I have a blindspot when it comes to Liz’s plants. They mean a lot to her. I don’t even see them.

I met a manager recently who thought he was doing the right thing by responding to a question from his team by making all manner of suggestions as to how they might do things better. He thought he was being helpful. They thought he was completely taking over. He had a blindspot. And, of course, he didn’t know it.

The problem with blindspots is that we don’t see them.

I know, obvious. But if we don’t see them, what’s to be done to make things better?

It takes two things. It takes somebody to have the courage to point out my blind spot. “Darling, you didn’t water my plants”.

And it takes me to have the graciousness to admit it. “Darling, thank you for pointing this out to me. I will try to do better next time”.

Sadly however both the courage and the graciousness are often missing. It tends to go more like this. Liz waters her own plants, so I don’t learn. Or, worse: “Darling, you didn’t water my plants”. “Stop picking on me. I’ve been incredibly busy. You have no idea what sort of week I’ve had”.

Bit defensive that. Not likely to encourage feedback in the future I suspect.

It takes courage and graciousness to grow.

Courage for somebody to tell me, and graciousness for me to accept it. And the less gracious I am, the less likely they are to tell me in future. So growth stops right there.

And, since I know you want to know, I had actually watered the plants.