Leaders have blindspots about themselves

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 writes that leaders have six weaknesses, which he calls blindspots, about themselves. 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 problem comes with a leader emphasizing people working together but who 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.