5 Management Blind Spots to Be Aware Of

We all have blind spots even the greatest of leaders.  And too often those unproductive behaviors that are invisible to us but are glaring to everyone else create dire consequences for you, your team, and your company.  To succeed as a manager, you need to learn how to recognize your blind spots and overcome them.

Here are the five most common blind spots along with suggestions for overcoming them:

  1. Managers only thinking they listen.  As managers, we know it is important to hear what subordinates are saying. However, we think we are listening when we’re not. We become distracted by a multitude of things on our mind which we may unconsciously shift to during an employee conversation and come away from with little recollection of the employee’s situation. Pretty soon employees get tired of not being heard and want to leave.  Solution: Keep a management logbook. After each significant talk with an employee, write down the person’s main two or three points in the log. If you cannot recall, go back to the employee and get clarification.
  2. Managements’ drift into partiality. Employees smell and see favoritism a mile away even where there may not be any. Don’t fuel the suspicion. The problem is, some managers do have favorites, just as parents sometimes do. One subordinate makes you laugh, while another is distant and hard to like. As managers, we can easily fall victim to a blind spot and respond to the agreeable worker with extra leniency.  Remember, employees do not demand treatment be perfectly equal as long as they perceive it as fair.  Solution: Make a list of subordinates and ask about each name: “Have I been fair to this person recently?” If there’s any doubt, look for a chance to show appreciation.
  3. Managers acting hot and cold. Nothing turns people off like someone who is warm and friendly one time, icy and formal the next. Employees don’t know where you stand. We suffer from blind spots about the perceived consistency of our behavior. As a manager, you may believe you are generally pleasant, with the off day.  However, employees may view you as up-and-down that they steer clear.  Solution:  Ask a trusted mentor or fellow manager for a periodic reading on how others see you as consistent or not.
  4. Managers forcing optimism. A manager needs to be positive. But a blind spot can hide the line between optimism and Pollyanna-ish behavior. Employees grow annoyed and lose faith when they see a manager as unrealistically upbeat.  Solution: When you ask employees how things are going, you should watch their reaction. If they hesitate to be open, it is a sign they think you do not want to hear anything that deviates from “happy talk.”
  5. Managers overusing meetings. Some managers may not feel they’re really managing unless they call everybody in for a huddle. That’s a blind spot: Employees see unproductive meetings as mainly serving the manager’s ego.  Solution: Restrict the number of meetings, be specific about the topic and limit their length.

 Do you see your blind spots?  If so, please share.

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About Patricia Knight
Hello and welcome. My name is Patricia Knight. Thank you for taking the time to view my blog. I’m a Human Resources professional who is currently pursing an MBA at the University of Nevada-Reno. I am an analytical, detail-oriented professional who believes that collaboration and negotiation are critical for successful employee relations between leadership and employees.

2 Responses to 5 Management Blind Spots to Be Aware Of

  1. rtomsaxton says:

    This is perfect! Managers need to be aware of all this to avoid this mis-haps and mistakes. I guess experience is key

    • Thanks Tom for the comment! It’s funny how experience in understanding we have blind spots can help us overcome them. But as you said with time it should get easier to avoid. Sincerely, Patricia

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