We are all unaware of some aspects of our personality/behavior. Thus, we exhibit biases that affect our decisions and create comfort zones that limit our growth.

Leadership development programs focus on eliminating psychological blind spots by improving self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Leadership coaches work with leaders from an egalitarian position to identify often painful shortcomings and elaborate a plan to address them.

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” – Hellen Keller

Definition: A psychological blind spot is a persistent lack of awareness concerning an aspect of one’s personality and/or behavior. Recognizing and dealing with a blind spot often involves psychological discomfort and pain.

The intelligent leader is an able translator of intention to impact. He/she is a person who “makes things happen” in perfect alignment with organizational interests. Psychological blind spots represent the most difficult-to-overcome gap between intention and impact.

Leadership development and coaching help leaders overcome the detrimental issues of psychological blind spots and invisible barriers on every leadership level. Interestingly, senior leaders can benefit more from leadership development in this sense than their junior peers.

The primary predictors of blind spot-related leadership issues are self-awareness and emotional intelligence. According to a TalentSmart analysis, C-suite executives have the lowest levels of emotional intelligence on average among a wide range of job titles. That said, the study has also acknowledged that despite the overall disappointing EQ scores, high-EQ executives outperformed their lower-EQ peers.

How Does Leadership Development Help Address Psychological Blind Spots? 

As I have pointed out in my leadership development books, psychological blind spots are almost impossible to address without outside expertise and help. They tend to soothe the ego and thus fit well into a comfort zone people often feel unable to transcend.

Leadership coaching can help identify and tackle psychological blind spots by:

  • Developing self-awareness and emotional intelligence
  • Directly helping executives recognize their psychological blind spots from an egalitarian position that is not open to the authority-related bias most “inside” advisors inevitably carry

Intelligent leadership development is impartial and dispassionate. It is, therefore, perfectly positioned to deliver eye-opening insights and fresh perspectives to the leader working in an environment that constantly validates his/her opinions, behavior, and personality.

Through better self-awareness and emotional intelligence, leaders become better versions of themselves on the one hand and more capable of recognizing their psychological failings on the other.

Psychological Blind Spots Common among Executives

Some leaders may fail to grasp the impact of their behavior on others. Some may feel compelled to meet challenges on their own, constantly needing to prove their mettle as a leader. Here is a shortlist of some of the most common psychological blind spots plaguing executives.

  • A tendency to avoid conflict
  • Disregarding commitments and the time/energy others have invested
  • Pushing a personal agenda at the expense of organizational interests
  • Upholding low-performance standards
  • Scapegoating and deflecting responsibility for failures
  • Being reluctant to commit or to take a well-defined position on a contentious issue.

Leadership Coaching Offers Practical Solutions to Blind Spots

Leadership development is the best remedy for psychological blind spots.

A leadership development coach addresses such shortcomings systematically by:

  • Pinpointing the invisible barriers and blind spots that hinder the leader’s growth, effectively and impartially.
  • Drawing up a written action plan detailing the measures the coach, the client, and third-party stakeholders will take to bring about improvement.
  • Proposing solutions to the client, discussing the methods of improvement, and securing commitment for ongoing feedback.
  • Implementing a follow-up plan to assess progress and tweak the course.

Leadership coaching is not an attempt to teach someone how to do their job. Rather, it is a targeted move to identify strengths and weaknesses from a fresh perspective and use them to identify and create growth opportunities.

Want to learn more about addressing psychological blind spots in your company’s leaders?  Check out my leadership coaching services.


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