Overcoming Leadership Blind Spots

“Leadership is a struggle by flawed human beings to make some important human values real and effective in the world as it is.” – Steven Snyder, Leadership and the Art of Struggle There’s no escaping it: Everyone has blind spots. No matter how hard we try to be self-aware, everyone – including the best leader – has unproductive behaviors that are invisible to us but glaring to everyone else. Our behavioral blind spots create unintended consequences: They distort judgment, corrupt decision-making, reduce our awareness, create enemies and silos, destroy careers and sabotage business results. Leaders are particularly vulnerable. They often buy into the overpowering belief that they should have all the answers and easily handle challenges great and small. They exploit their powers of self-confidence at the expense of introspection and self-questioning. For many, the need to be right trumps their mandate to be effective. These leaders fail to see that their behaviors can be destructive to themselves and others, even when their intentions are positive. They forget that others judge them on their behaviors and results – not by intentions. Research Revelations A blind spot is a performance-hindering mindset or behavior of which you’re unaware or have chosen to overlook. A recent Business Week article cites some important research: A Hay Group study shows that an organization’s senior leaders are more likely to overrate themselves and develop blind spots that can hinder their effectiveness. A study by Development Dimensions International, Inc., found that 89 percent of front-line leaders have at least one skills-related blind spot. The Hay research suggests that, as executives rise within an organization, the less...