Because they have a lot going on at work, leaders may often find themselves unaware that they have behaviors that limit their effectiveness as managers. If you’re always trapped in your daily responsibilities, it can be hard to miss.
When a leader has blind spots, their capacity to manage their people is greatly reduced. They end up facing things that go wrong and they can’t do anything about it because of their lack of self-awareness. It often happens to the detriment of the team and the organization.
There are a lot of common leadership blind spots that leaders can look out for. These can help them improve their leadership skills and be better equipped for other challenges at work and as a team.
Here are a few blind spots and what you can do about them.
Not dealing with poor performance
Every team has a problem child. There will be an employee who’s never holding up their end of the work and having others carry their weight often. Unfortunately, leaders don’t do a lot to hold them accountable.
Letting people get away with poor performance is a reflection of a leader who can’t stand his ground. In return, it can bring the team down and halt growth. In order to avoid this, the leader must deal with issues with his team members head-on.
Decide when it’s time to replace managers and other seniors. Talk to your team members if they haven’t been doing well, and see what you can do about it as a leader. Never turn a blind eye on poor performance, and always help your team improve.
Focusing on managing up
There’s always a manager who is too concerned with managing his reputation more than managing his team. We all know someone who makes himself look good for executives instead of overseeing his team’s affairs.
Managers make an effort to manage their impressions for the higher-ups, but others take it too far by spending so much time and energy trying to impress their bosses more than he actually doing the work for his team.
Managers need to attune their focus back to his work as a team leader instead of investing too much on managing up. If he does good work within his team, his performance will be enough to manage the executives’ impressions of him.
A leader has to make a lot of calls. From business processes to task management, he needs to keep the team going and decide on things. But sometimes, leaders decide not to decide, much to the chagrin of his team members.
When a leader opts not to decide immediately, the team’s tasks might get halted and things might not reach completion. More importantly, with stretched timelines, costs might be affected. This will just end up draining the team’s energy and morale.
Being a leader means deciding even when you think you’re not ready. If you have the team and the organization’s best interests in mind, you’ll figure out what to do and make the call to do it. Whatever happens, you can just ride the wave and keep improving.
Sometimes, leaders like to keep valuable information to themselves out of selfishness. They either use this to gain competitive advantage or to mislead their team members. Either way, it creates an internal disadvantage for everyone involved.
There’s no sense in withholding information unless a leader wants to paint himself as power-hungry and controlling. No matter how you look at it, it’s just not a sensible thing to do.
It’s best to keep your team updated with things instead of keeping them in the dark. They deserve to know what you know so they can plan the proper course of action themselves. You always owe it to your team members to keep your organization running; take the time to share.
Being out of touch
Leaders come across as impenetrable fortresses. Whether they’re hiding in an ivory tower or in the four walls of their office, some leaders prefer not to get to know their team members and even their customers better.
Some managers let their employees do much of the legwork for them without even bothering to find out what their team members’ strengths and weaknesses are. Often, they rely too much on their employees to keep the organization afloat without providing much input.
It’s hard for a leader to find out if he is really out of touch, but asking themselves how much they know about their team members and customers might put them in place. Getting out of their office and spending time with everyone they have to deal with will be what they need to be grounded.