10 Leadership Blind Spots to Avoid

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 05-26-2014 Email Print this article Print

It's all too common for CIOs and other leaders to lose sight of all the essentials which are needed to succeed. This could happen due to the wealth of never-ending little jobs that come with the territory, but get in the way of the accomplishment of larger, more impactful objectives. Or it could relate to the pure size of your organization, and the resulting hierarchies. Or somewhere along the way from the cubicles to your CIO office, you may forget about what it really means to stand out as an in-the-trenches team leader. The new book, Leadership Blindspots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome the Weaknesses That Matter (Jossey-Bass), depicts how even strong executives can stumble due to a variety of unrecognized flaws. In the book, author Robert Bruce Shaw provides a large number of case studies to illustrate these situations, along with his recommendations for corrective action. The following 10 blind spots are adapted from the book, demonstrating how CIOs and other tech managers can transition from a narrow, self-focused perspective to one which takes into account the entire picture of an organization: from customers to team members to executive peers to the C-suite. Shaw is a management consultant specializing in organizational and leadership performance for executives and teams within industries such as telecommunications, financial services, defense, pharmaceuticals, power utilities and consumer goods. For more about the book, click here.

  • Valuing Being Right Over Being Effective

    By getting defensive about your "correct" decisions and stopping people in mid-sentence, you close yourself off to the possibilities of better strategies.
    Valuing Being Right Over Being Effective
  • Overlooking the Price of Victories

    When your IT teams adopt a win-at-all-costs mindset, it can lead to destructive patterns.
    Overlooking the Price of Victories
  • Thinking the Present is the Past

    If your radar is tuned to only familiar patterns and processes, you won't recognize emerging possibilities.
    Thinking the Present is the Past
  • Avoiding Important Issues

    It's easy to lapse into a routine in which you only address operational and administrative needs. But true leaders prioritize these duties behind the more impactful—and tougher —strategic challenges.
    Avoiding Important Issues
  • Enabling Weak Team Members

    If you don't address these employees, you'll forever limit the potential of your teams. And your top contributors will resent the situation—and possibly leave.
    Enabling Weak Team Members
  • Not Developing a Successor

    You won't be in your position forever. Identify rising, internal stars who aren't merely capable to filling your role, but have the potential to expand it.
    Not Developing a Successor
  • Failing to Capture Hearts and Minds

    You have to do more than get people to do what you ask. When they actually believe in their mission, they'll take ownership of their roles.
    Failing to Capture Hearts and Minds
  • Not Connecting With the Front Lines

    Within any organization, the front liners get a first-hand read on how customers feel. Tap into this knowledge and adjust your strategies accordingly.
    Not Connecting With the Front Lines
  • Treating Opinions as Facts

    Distinguish statements that are based upon personal perspectives from those that are grounded in credible, authoritative resources. Even allegedly "sourced" information can be altered as it gets passed around.
    Treating Opinions as Facts
  • Dismissing Internal Politics

    While it's nice to think that no one "plays politics here," it's also entirely unrealistic. You have to know where influencers are—at all levels of your organization—and earn their allegiance.
    Dismissing Internal Politics
Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.


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