Managerial Blind Spots
Management or leadership blind spots are tricky to eliminate. What’s even more difficult is identifying these blind spots. 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 with mirrors or your eyes 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, and 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 elements 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
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 around you or your department to realize what blind spots have been lurking outside your field of vision.
What makes these blind spots truly dangerous for organizations is the element(s) they hide from managers and 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, or causes, that can make blind spots more dangerous. Below are the 6 steps you can follow to uncover and solve your blind spot:
- Increase your field of vision, or your awareness, of possible blind spots
- Locate the blind spot, and identify the dangerous elements it might hold
- Take some time to observe
- Consider meeting with other managers/leaders to discuss blind spots
- Consider hiring a consultant or coach 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, by nature, blind spots are off your radar. They may come and go as you adapt and grow as a manager or leader, and you must become aware of new blind spots as you grow. One of the best ways to identify blind spots is through discussion with others, and we are here to work through these with you. Feel free to send us a note through our connection page.