6 blind spots in leadership

June 9, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

Leaders rely on others to fill in the blanks in their knowledge, but often leaders don’t realize what they don’t know. This can lead to a great deal of trouble.

In his book “Leadership Blindspots,” Robert Bruce Shaw wrote that leaders have six weaknesses about themselves, which he calls blindspots. They are:

  • Overestimating one’s strategic capabilities. Many leaders are better at managing operations than thinking strategically, but, worse, they don’t realize it.
  • Valuing being right over being effective. With this, team members will not challenge this kind of leader on important issues because they see it being useless to do so.
  • Failing to balance the “what” with the “how.” The first problem here is what happens with a win-at-all-costs mentality. The second comes with a leader emphasizing people working together but doesn’t place enough emphasis on delivering results.
  • Not seeing their impact on others. This oversight is often combined with a tendency to think that others are like the leader, in what motivates them, how they make decisions and how they respond to adversity.
  • Believing the rules don’t apply to them. This can set a bad example but worse, it can lead to unethical or illegal behavior.
  • Thinking the present is the past. Proven methods might work, but a leader must be able to identify situations that require a new approach.