We are receiving an increasing number of requests for leadership training at all levels of business. The most valuable starting point is to make people aware of the blind spots that might be holding them back from developing leadership qualities.

Whether an employee occupies a managerial position or contributes as a support team member, embodying leadership qualities not only fosters personal growth but also bolsters the collective success of the team and the organisation as a whole. Leadership requires high EQ, and an awareness of potential blind spots. Understanding and actively shedding these negative characteristics is paramount for fostering a culture of effective leadership.

Let’s explore 10 blind spots that need to be banished from businesses to cultivate strong and impactful leadership abilities.

1. Emotional volatility

When frustration and anger results in destructive, cutting remarks and sarcasm, you lose credibility as a leader. Often, people who are emotionally volatile feel bad after an outburst and then over-compensate when they calm down. When your team is on the receiving end of these inconsistent and extreme responses, respect is lost.

2. Blame game

Newsflash for leaders: the buck stops with you and it’s your fault when something goes wrong! As a leader, you can’t pass the buck and blame everyone around you for mistakes and non-delivery. It’s up to you to make it happen, admit mistakes and ensure everyone learns from the inevitable mishaps that take place along the way.

3. Excuses

Similarly, when leaders make excuses for non-performance and poor behaviour, they do a dis-service to themselves, their organisation and their team. Excuses rationalise poor decisions and most people can see right through it.

4. Denial

Another way to lose street-cred as a leader is to bury your head in the sand like an ostrich, or sweep issues under the carpet and pretend they don’t exist. When you don’t tackle obstacles and challenges head on, immediately, you leave them to fester until they spiral out of control.

5. Claiming credit

Success – however that is defined in your context – is the objective of most leaders. However, even in times of success, leaders can just as easily lose respect when they celebrate wins by taking all the glory and claiming credit for the work of a team.

6. My way or the highway

Just because you are a leader, doesn’t mean you have to make all the decisions and come up with all the solutions on your own. As a leader, you need to surround yourself with people who can add value and make good suggestions. Leaders who fail to use knowledge and suggestions from the team fail to get buy-in. When you don’t listen, and don’t take notice of the concerns and ideas of those around you, you are not a leader, but an autocrat.

7. Playing favourites

This is a tough one. It’s natural to have “favourites” because they are usually the people you share values with. However, as a leader, you need to be able to back up and justify your decisions and choices with substance. Your treatment of people needs to be equal, and can’t be on the basis of nepotism, social interaction or being bullied into favouring one over another.

8. Lip service

When your words are not followed up with actions to support those words, your integrity as a leader is questionable. You can’t TELL your customers and employees your values. You need to LIVE and DISPLAY them in everything you do. There’s no authenticity in singing from a song sheet and telling people what they want to hear if there is no substance behind it.

9. Breaking promises

It’s quite simple. Don’t make a promise you can’t keep. Nothing can erode your reputation and respect as quickly as creating an expectation that is not met.

10. Shoddy manners

The greatest leaders in the business world will fall if they fail on simple common decency. Punctuality, gratitude, praise when it’s due and basic ethics.

While business leadership used to be a title reserved for the top hierarchy of organisations, more and more businesses are recognising the benefits of employing people – or equipping the existing team – with effective leadership skills.

It’s easy to work on leadership skills – but not so easy to identify your leadership blind spots and bad habits that might be eroding your attempts to gain respect and credibility as a leader. If you need someone to hold up a mirror for you and your team, contact me.

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