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Open your eyes to blindspots

Leadership 6 Apr . min read

The Covid pandemic has been challenging for leaders and their teams. Volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity have taken a massive toll on leadership effectiveness. With huge and ever-expanding workloads, it’s not surprising that leaders have failed to move the dial in some critical areas.

But what is alarming from our extensive, intimate data on organisations is the 50 percent increase in blindspots - the gap between leaders’ perception and employees’ reality – over the past three years. Our most recent results show that leaders are rapidly losing touch with their employees and what they think. Does it matter? Absolutely. Unaddressed blindspots can harm productivity, erode culture, and cost you your best people.

Our latest insights paper for the private sector: Blindspots takes a deep dive into this issue and aims to stimulate leaders into involving their people more effectively in the solutions and narrowing the gaps. Interestingly, we found the biggest blindspots relate to leaders and senior leadership teams or the core areas required for effective leadership, indicating a systemic lack of awareness of themselves and their immediate team.

These days good leaders have to be both technically and emotionally competent, be more skilled at showing empathy, and understanding others. If leaders can do that, it’s a win: win.

Four key themes emerged:

Let people know their worth – a recurring and the largest blindspot relates to remuneration. With the “great resignation” sweeping across the country there’s never been a better time to make sure your organisation has a remuneration policy and that is clearly communicated. Support that with open, honest, and regular conversations about employee performance and how individuals add value to your organisation.

Build trust – senior leaders across every sector seem to be struggling to win the trust of their people. Open, transparent, decision-making , and sharing top table decisions with teams is a way to close the gap. Lifting the shroud of secrecy will benefit the effectiveness of your entire organisation.

Meaningful involvement – people feel valued when there is meaning . If they can connect their personal purpose with the organisation’s goal, vision, and strategy and it is clearly articulated, they will have “their why”. Help your people understand how they make “the boat go faster” and why that matters.

Better communication – employees want more communication. They want to hear what is going on, and how they are contributing to the business. Not only that good communication is a silo-buster and helps people feel valued and well-informed. A clear, concise internal communications strategy is worth its weight in gold.

If you’d like to read our blindspot insights paper for the private sector in full, you can download it here.

Chris O’Reilly

Chris co-founded AskYourTeam as a way to make it easier for leaders to ask their teams the most important (and the least-asked) question in business: “How can I help you do your job better?”

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