February 7, 2017

Blind Spots Among Leaders

Blind Spots Among Leaders

One of the reasons we have such difficulty leading ourselves is that we have blind spots preventing us from seeing where we have problems and fall short. These are areas in which people continually fail to see themselves or their situation realistically.

Everybody has some; few people recognize their own. We see those of others more clearly. Why? Because we see ourselves by our intentions. That often gives us a false impression of who we are or what we do.

We give ourselves the benefit of the doubt because we put things into context. On the other hand, we see others in light of their actions. For that reason we seem to be more objective when judging them.

While blind spots cause all people problems, they can be especially harmful in leaders. Because leaders influence others and their actions affect a team’s, departments’s, or organizations’s outcomes, the problems that come from their blind spots are exaggerated. Their blind spots have a multiplying effect on the people in their sphere of influence.

To lead yourself successfully, you must identify your blind spots and deal with them effectively. To help you do that, here are the four most common and destructive blind spots among leaders:

1) A Singular Perspective — “The Me-Me Person”

Having too singular a perspective might be a problem for you if…

  • No matter how conversation begins, you end up talking about your favorite subject.
  • You keep giving the same speech, lecture, or piece of advice over and over again.
  • You are always right, even though nobody is always right—on any subject.

Instead of viewing everything from such a singular perspective, effective leaders make an effort to see things from different points of view.

2) Insecurity — “The Taker”

Insecure leaders continually think of themselves first. They worry about what others think of them. They fear they may look weak or foolish or insignificant. Insecure leaders take more from people than they give. Because they feel they are less, they seek validation more.

Insecure leaders also limit the best people. They have a difficult time seeing others rise, because it threatens them. And they cannot generally celebrate the victories one by others, because they are often jealous. Giving others their due makes them feel like less.

Because insecurity is often hidden in a blind spot, leaders often don’t recognize it in themselves.

How do you know if insecurity is a problem for you? Answer the following questions:

  • Do you feel you need credit or have a hard time giving credit to others?
  • Do you keep information from your staff to protect your position?
  • Do you try to keep her step away from good leaders, because you’re afraid they may be stolen? Are you threatened by the growth of others?
  • Do you often micromanage others or feel you deserve the credit for your teams accomplishments?

In the end, insecure leaders limit their people and organization.

3) An Out-of-Control Ego — “The Know It All”

Another major blind spot area for leaders is ego. Egotistical leaders believe they know it all. They believe that others are inferior to them. And they often think the rules don’t apply to them

Egotistical leaders are usually rigid and close minded. They are out of touch with their clients and employees, they blame others when anything goes wrong, and they live in a state of denial. Their only positive quality is that they don’t talk about others—because they never think about anyone but themselves.

How can you tell if you’re an egotistical leader? Answer the following questions:

  • Do you think you’re indispensable that no one else can do a job as well as you can?
  • Do you believe others are always to blame when things go wrong?
  • Do you disregard the ideas of others or feel others’ ideas are inferior to yours?
  • Do you feel superior, or do other people often feel put down by you?

Egotistical leaders don’t look for input or answer from anyone other than themselves.

4) Weak Character — “Not So Trusted Person”

When you ask most people what it takes to be successful, they list talent, opportunity, and hard work as the primary ingredients. While those things are central, so is character. Why?

Character protects your talent. With character, all those other attributes help a leader to be successful. Lack of character is a deal-breaker when it comes to leading yourself or others.

Character is the sum total of all everyday choices. It is putting right values into action every day. It’s consistency of values, ideals, thoughts, words, and actions.

If you suspect the character witnesses may be holding you back, note your answers to these questions:

  • Do you often miss deadlines?
  • Do you make vows, resolutions, or decisions to change and then go back to your old behavior?
  • Do you place more importance of pleasing others than you do on maintaining the values you espouse?
  • Are you willing to shave or shade the truth in order to get out of a tough spot?
  • Do you do what’s easiest, even when you know it’s not what’s best?
  • Do others show reluctance to trust you?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, there may be areas of your character that needs some work.

How to Overcome Your Blind Spots

  1. Assume that you have blind spots. If you don’t believe that you have blind spots, that is your blind spot!
  2. Ask those who know you best to identify your blind spots. If they are honest, they will tell you what you aren’t seeing about yourself.
  3. Assume you’re blind spots cannot be removed by you alone. Everyone needs help seeing and dealing with blind spots. Don’t think you can deal with yours on your own.
  4. Openly discuss your blind spots with your inner circle. Be open with the people who care about you and want to help you.
  5. Develop and empower a team to cover your blind spots. You may eventually be able to overcome many of your blind spots. Until then, make sure your team prevents them from derailing you or the team.

When values, thoughts, feelings, and actions are in alignment, people become focused and their characters are strengthened. That allows leaders to lead themselves successfully.

So… what are you thinking? Who will you ask to help you? Are you in alignment?


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