Covering Managerial and Leadership Blind Spots
Management or leadership blind spots are tricky to identify, and even more difficult to eliminate. Think of your blind spots while driving a car. Your field of vision and mirrors only cover so much of what is around you on the road, naturally creating blind spots in areas around your car that you cannot see without turning your head to check them. The key difference between a leadership blind spot, and a blind spot on the road, is that with leadership blind spots you do not know where they are or what element (risk, inefficiency, or poor culture) is contained within. On the road, we know they exist, but we don’t know what is in our blind spot until we look. If you want to get better as a manager or leader, you’ll need to cover these blind spots and isolate the element within each. Here’s how we can do that.
Before we consider the solutions, let’s identify some common blind spots of today:
- Miscommunicating or under-communicating expectations
- Hoping for new, greater productivity
- Accepting the status quo
- Delaying or not making a decision out of fear
- Hiring or retaining employees for the wrong reasons
For more examples of common blind spots, visit this white paper.
One of the key distinctions we’d like to make is that each blind spot, like the blind spot on your car, is possible to uncover if you raise your awareness of them. What nearly all leaders will find difficult when uncovering their blind spots is that they’re naturally off your radar. Sometimes it requires a very long and truthful look about you or your department to realize what blind spots have been lurking outside your field of vision. It may also require that you invest in tools or people with an objective perspective to help you identify these blind spots. Much like the blind spot awareness sensors on vehicles today, outside consultants or coaches can effectively identify these blind spots and help you establish a plan to eliminate them.
What makes these blind spots truly dangerous for organizations is the element(s) they hide from leaders. For example, imagine your blind spot is accepting the status quo. You do not realize you’re doing it because, as a blind spot, it’s naturally off your radar. You take a long look at how you’ve been managing over the past 6-12 months and are now aware that you’ve been accepting the status quo for too long. The dangerous element for your organization may be that productivity has decreased, your department’s culture does not jive the way it used to, or you’ve realized your employees are far less happy than they were twelve months ago. It’s these elements that can make blind spots more dangerous. Below are the 6 steps you can follow to uncover your blind spot:
- Increase your awareness of possible blind spots
- Locate and identify the dangerous elements
- Take time to observe
- Consider meeting with other managers/leaders to discuss blind spots
- Consider hiring a coach or consultant to conduct an analysis of your blind spots. It’s oftentimes easier for an outsider to see blind spots than those within your organization.
- Identify tools that can help minimize or eliminate blind spots.
In closing, it’s important to keep in mind that blind spots are off your radar by definition. They may come and go as you adapt and grow as a leader, and it’s important that you become aware of new ones as you grow. One of the best ways to identify blind spots is through discussion with others. We are here to help you work through these blind spots and help you grow as a business leader. Drop a comment below or send us a note through our connection page to get in touch!