Nonprofit leadership can get so busy that leaders lose sight of essentials, including losing sight of what they don’t know.
In his book “Leadership Blindspots” Robert Bruce Shaw discusses what he calls blindspots, areas in which leaders are unaware of what they don’t know. Shaw outlines six blindspots that leaders have about the teams working for them. Leaders need to be aware of these, he argues, because they are detrimental to operations.
The blindspots about the team are:
- Failing to focus on the vital few. The majority of the leadership team’s time is spent on less important issues that are typically administrative or operational.
- Taking for granted the team model. The leader uses an approach that fits personal preferences, independent of what the organization needs or the team needs.
- Overrating the talent on the team. The team doesn’t have the talent to compete given the challenges faced by the organization. It can also mean the leader protects certain members.
- Avoiding the tough conversations. Among other things, this can lead to higher-performing members of the team being frustrated by being forced to carry the load of those not holding up their end.
- Trusting the wrong individuals. This can create an inner circle of confidants who are more interested in sustaining their own power.
- Not developing real successors. Little effort is made to identify and take risks on high-potential people and to groom them.