The four leadership “blind spots”


A recent Dale Carnegie survey of over 3,300 employees has identified four leadership “blind spots” – the aspects of leading that are currently not being considered, acknowledged or even seen as existing in the first place.

When these “hidden” leadership qualities are addressed and properly carried out in the workplace the overall job satisfaction of employees increases significantly.

Success is driven by exceptional leadership. A work culture where leaders appreciate the importance of each individual employee, put in place efficient systems and create a positive and inclusive employee experience is what drives a business forward.

Despite this, leaders’ performance in many organisations is falling short.

  • A mere 15% of employees strongly agreed that the leadership in their company makes them enthusiastic about the future (Gallup, 2017).
  • Only 13% of employees surveyed across different industries, company sizes, countries and positions strongly agree that the leadership of their company communicates effectively with the rest of the organisation (Gallup, 2017).
  • Less than one quarter of all employees interviewed (23% only) said that their leaders were effective (Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor, 2016).

These are the key blind spots that leaders are currently not seeing: 

Blind Spot #1: Showing Appreciation

Organisational leaders understand the importance of their teams and value their employees, so why is it that the majority of the employees in the study said that their own supervisor didn’t make them feel sincerely appreciated most or all of the time? The source of this problem is often stemming from the frequency of praise given and the sincerity factor falling short.

Blind Spot #2: Admitting When Wrong

A willingness to “admit when they are wrong” was the leadership behaviour that generated the largest disparity between its importance in leadership and overall employee satisfaction and supervisors’ performance in doing so. While 81% of respondents said it was important in terms of their own motivation levels to give their best, only 41% said they trusted their supervisors to do the same consistently – a gap of 40%.

Blind Spot #3: Truly Listening

Asking isn’t the same as listening, and employees know the difference. Just 49% of respondents said they could confidently expect that when they spoke with their leader, they’d truly listen most or all of the time. Actively listening is critical, and part of that is showing respect for what the other person has to say.

Blind Spot #4: Honesty With Self And Others

17% of those interviewed stated that their own supervisor is rarely or never honest and trustworthy with others. While the veracity of this may be called into question, at the end of the day it’s the perceptions employees have that count in order to effectively lead. Additionally, 16% of respondents said their supervisor is rarely or never internally reliable, meaning these employees view their leader as behaving in ways that are inconsistent with their leader’s own principles and core beliefs.

What can leaders do about these blind spot areas?

Jordan Wang, Managing Director of Dale Carnegie NSW, says that “simply having an awareness of these blind spots may help all of us better see the gap between our actual behaviour and our desired behaviour, when it comes to getting the best from those who look to us for leadership”.

He continues, “Leaders who choose to actively work to identify blind spots in these four areas and learn to overcome them on a personal level have considerable potential to impact the employee experience of those who report to them and interact with them”.

The study: https://www.dalecarnegie.com/en/resources/recognizing-leadership-blind-spots