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Do you suffer with proximity blindness?

A common leadership ailment is Proximity Blindness. There is an old saying that says “familiarity breeds contempt”. In other words the closer you get to someone, the harder it can be to appreciate and respect them! This is not only true in relationships but in leadership. Closeness can blind leaders in 4 ways:

1. We can’t see the full potential in those we are closest to! We know those we love are good in certain areas but we can limit them to those areas. They may possess other gifts or skill sets that are untapped or unexplored but they are unrecognised. This can be a major area of frustration to those around us.

2. We can be blind to their personal growth. Leaders can sometimes pigeon hole people by who they “were” in the past, instead of who they are “now”. Jesus is in the business of transforming all of us. We need to take time to realise and recognise growth as it occurs.

3. We can be blind to character issues that need dealing with. Love softens the heart and when we deeply love people we can “turn a blind eye” to character flaws that truly need to be challenged. We make excuses and explain away actions or behaviour that in the long run will damage them personally and damage the community of God. Love is kind but we must also speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

4. We can be blind to our own contribution to the issues in our relationships or church. Sometimes it really isn’t just “them” creating the problems, but your reaction, responses and evaluations may also be a key factor. It could be your filters blinding you to what’s causing the issues. A good question to ask is “Why does this person create such a reaction in me and how can I change that”.

Proximity can definitely affect clarity of vision. It’s a danger we must all fight.

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