Managers need to find their blind spot

Managers need to find their blind spot

I suppose there was an element of sarcasm in his comment, however I chose to ignore that and instead focused on what I decided was good humour, but as soon as he sat down in the front passenger seat of my new car the first thing that my good friend Ismail did was comment on the number of cameras and screens that he could see.

It is true my new car, does have, in addition to the front and rear dash cameras quite a few built in cameras, and a split video screen which shows me a virtual reality overhead image of the car whenever the reverse gear is engaged.

They are far from being a vanity project; beautiful though my car is, it does have several blind spots that would without the presence of the cameras make reversing, and parking quite difficult.

So those cameras and screens make my life a lot easier and, with a constant eye on road safety, are a great way to help me avoid hitting a pedestrian or anything else, when I reverse.

Until recently the only other mention of blind spots that I can recall, is when I learnt, as a child, about how castles are designed to ensure that the defenders on the ramparts can always see the attackers regardless of the angle or direction, they attack the castle from.

The architects had to design the blind spots out of their plans.

Now, Jim Hauden and Rich Berens have in their book What Are Your Blind Spots? Conquering the 5 Misconceptions that Hold Leaders Back highlighted the blind spots that managers have about their employees.

The average manager looks at an employee and makes decisions based upon their interpretation of what they are looking at instead of what they would, actually see if they made the effort to understand their employee as an individual.

Why do they do this?

Well, it’s the easy solution.

Why should managers not do it?

Well, the world is changing and along with it the way in which people look at work is also changing.

They want work to say something about them as individuals and they want to see themselves as much more than simply a cog in a machine.

Employees are more likely than ever before to want to feel some sort of connection with their work, to feel, as HR professionals are keen on saying, engaged.

Employee engagement is one of the big challenges for HR professionals and line managers.

It is unfortunate say, Hauden and Berens, that businesses are failing to engage with as many as 70% of their workers.

The reason for this according to the two men is the blind spots that managers have in their thinking, which are the result of seeing what a management idea or philosophy tells them they should see in a situation, instead of what the facts, if they could be bothered to look at them would demonstrate to be the reality of the situation.

When a manager fails to acknowledge the existence of these blind spots in their thinking, they potentially miss what is important to both the business and their employee and the opportunity to engage with those employees so that they can achieve their optimum level of work performance by linking the fulfilment of their personal aspirations to the achievement of the company’s objectives.

You can find out more about the five leadership blind spots, and how to overcome them in this week’s free book summary guide from Work Place Learning Centre.


During a career as a human resources and employee development professional that started in 1981 Michael Millward has worked around the world in a wide range of businesses from start-ups to major conglomerates. His industry experience includes, local and national government, manufacturing, financial services, retail, distribution, hi-tech, e-commerce.

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