How to Watch Out for Blind Spots in Your Leadership

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It’s the tricky thing about blind spots: Everybody has them, but often we don’t even know they exist until they cause a problem.

All of us have blind spots, and most of us at some point have made a bad decision because of them. But when a leader has a blind spot, the repercussions spread to include the entire organization—and sometimes even its stakeholders and customers.

In essence, a blind spot is not knowing what you don’t see. Blind spots can take many forms, from refusing to accommodate new workplace realities or technologies to, at their worst, racial and ethnic prejudice. The most dangerous blind spots are the ones we aren’t even aware of.

Many leaders also have internalized blind spots, in which the view of who you are doesn’t align with what others experience from you. Good leaders are always working to improve their self-awareness, but unfortunately many are better at managing strategy than at looking inward.

Here are four of the most common internalized blind spots to check yourself against.

1. Inflated ego. The greatest enemy of any leader—or anyone, for that matter—is thinking they can never make a mistake, that they know better than anyone else, that their title and achievements set them apart. Leaders with inflated egos make everything they do about themselves, and at the extreme they surround themselves with synchopants who agree with every misperception and validate their ego every day. An overgrown ego makes it impossible to maintain the kind of relationships that are at the core of leadership. It eventually leads to its own downfall, sometimes taking the entire organization with it.

2. Lack of character. Leadership cannot exist in the absence of character. Leaders need to constantly check and, if needed, realign themselves with the values and beliefs that form the foundation of who they are. Issues of character affect your choices and actions, leading to unethical or unsustainable decisions, and a refusal to own or repair mistakes.

3. Scarcity of confidence. When leaders aren’t able to perceive their own value and abilities, it keeps them and their organizations from achieving all that they’re capable of. The blind spot of self-doubt persuades leaders to avoid bold decisions and focus on less important issues or even to spend their time chasing distractions. The side effects are difficult and damaging.

4. Low accountability. Leaders must be perceived as reliable and steady, and any unwillingness to be accountable costs their leadership credibility. The root of the word credibility is credere, which means “believe” in Latin. Put plainly, credibility is the feeling of trust and loyalty that leaders inspire in others, and without that credibility there can be no leadership.

LEAD FROM WITHIN: Your blind spots may be entirely different—the important thing is to watch for them with vigilance and keep your thinking as flexible and open as possible.

 


N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R

The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Articles you might be interested in:

Let Your Leadership Speak For Itself
How to Become A Leader You Admire
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Your Leadership Motivation Starts Within

Photo: Getty Images

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

8 Responses to “How to Watch Out for Blind Spots in Your Leadership”

  1. Jean Howard

    19. Jul, 2016

    First check yourself before criticizing others. That’s why it’s essential to have a true friend who will give honest & helpful feedback. Trump chose Pence so he’d have outsider eyes he could trust.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Nordia McIntosh

    23. Jul, 2016

    Having people who are real and can point out blind spots, helps a lot as a company or business every one should care and own up to there mistake and learn from it, love you topics keep them coming Lolly.
    Nordia McIntosh

    Reply to this comment
  3. VINNI PRIYA

    05. Aug, 2016

    BEFORE KNOWING YOUR BLIND SPOTS TRY CHOOSING A REAL FRIEND WHO REALLY WANTS U ALL THE TIME THEN HE DEFINITELY RECTIFY YOUR BLIND SPOTS

    Reply to this comment
  4. Serdar Demirdag

    25. Oct, 2016

    Every leader knows his/her blind spots after certain years of experience. If They are successful then do not accept critics of others about their blind spot even if get feedback From a Very loyal friend.

    Reply to this comment

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