We all have blind spots—even the best and greatest of leaders. And too often those unproductive behaviors that are invisible to us but are glaring to everyone else create dire consequences for you, your team, and your company. Here's a look at 10 common blind spots for leaders and managers, and advice for recognizing and overcoming them.
1. Going It Alone
The symptoms:Rejecting offers of support, withdrawing from others, not talking about your stress or anxiety, not including others
in decision-making, leaving people to fend for themselves.Why it's damaging: Isolating yourself and shouldering the burden alone creates anxiety and uncertainty in others. When you are missing
in action, frustration builds and people fill in the blanks, spread rumors, andwithdraw their discretionary effort.What to do: Talk with others about your tendency to solve problems by yourself. Let others know that you are committed to working in
partnership but you need their support. Ask them to point out when you are withdrawing so you can stop excluding and start including.
2. Being Insensitive to Your Impact on Others
The symptoms: Not recognizing when you have anegative impact, being insensitive to cultural differences, expecting others to react the same way you do, criticizing and devaluing others, dismissing reactions of others as their problem.Why it's damaging: Insensitivity and a low level of awareness results in an unsafe environment. People emotionally disengage, work around the leader, and do not speak up for fear of repercussions.What to do: Findout how you impact others by asking for their candid feedback before you end a conversation. Ask: "Do you feel that I listen to you? Do you believe that I have confidence in you? Have I let you down in any way? Have I said anything that is limiting our working relationship?"
3. An 'I Know' Attitude
The symptoms: Having an answer for everything, rigid and fixed views, lack of intellectualcuriosity, not listening, diminishing what others have to say, arguing with everyone who does not agree with your point of view, refusing to explore alternatives and options.Why it's damaging: Others feel devalued, angry, and insignificant. Innovation and creativity come to a standstill as the "I know" leader dominates conversations and shuts down new ideas.What to do: Recognize that your blindspot causes you to miss important information and ideas. Without fail, ask: "What have I missed? What am I not seeing? How am I limiting new possibilities?" 4. Avoiding Difficult Conversations
The symptoms: Softening the message, not delivering the tough message, staying on the surface of issues, avoiding discussions that evoke an emotional response, talking in generalizations instead ofproviding specific and real examples.Why it's damaging: What you don't tell others, they will make up and discuss in the hallways. Leaders who are not direct raise anxiety levels to staggering heights, resulting in a lack of focus on business needs. People become more fixated on what the leader is not saying or disclosing than on doing their jobs. What to do: Start the conversation with a positivecontext and tell others that you are committed to their success and to the partnership. Then ask if they are open to your coaching or feedback. Most will readily respond yes. Then say what you have to say. Responsibly.
5. Blaming Others or Circumstances
The symptoms: Always having a reason, excuse, or explanation ("Yeah, but…"); pointing the finger at others; treating others as the enemy oropposition; building silos rather than supporting enterprise perspective; criticizing and complaining; invalidating ideas and people.Why it's damaging: Leaders who blame others are perceived as petty, small, and divisive. They polarize the organization and divide people into camps. To avoid being caught in the line of fire, people stay below the radar and wait and see rather than take action....