Sunday, April 26, 2015

How Does a Senior Leader Deal With Blind spots in Decision Making?

The blind spots are perhaps inevitable, the point is how business leaders or managers shall learn to deal with them seamlessly.

There’s knowing unknown, there’s unknowing unknown, so it's not a new topic about “Blind Spots,” everyone perhaps has some, but as a senior business leader (or any kind of leader), the blind spots will cloud your vision, trigger your negative emotion, cause your decision ineffectiveness, and screw your leadership competency. So what're the causes of the blind spot, and how to deal with them logically?

Ego clouds the vision or leads the misjudgment: First, you have to be humbled to realize you don't know what you don't know and dig through something you know you don’t know as well. Until that happens, you will continue on the lives of blindness. Secondly, you have to have trusted business advisers with a cognitive difference, who you allow to be like mirrors. They mirror back to you the things they see. Then, you have to have intentional times when receiving messages is highly likely to occur. Finally, you need to listen, accept, and act on the blind spot, whatever it is and get a reflection from  "mirrors" that you appreciate the huge favor and gift they have provided us. If you shoot the messenger, you won't get any feedback again from that source. Best to honor others to the point, you need to become a better communicator.

Low EQ causes blind spots: As a manager, especially a senior leader, it is the importance of dealing with the blind spots by learning how to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Your "signal light" behavior illustrates the value of maintaining self-control when you face hardships in business or your personal life. There are many 'REACTIONARY EXECUTIVES' who are impatient and get easily angered, lose trust, and respect from their peers and their employees which sabotage personal growth. There are also many senior leaders who failed to deal with blind spots because arrogance clouded their eyes, or they have a very homogeneous team who always “think the same.” If you feel like you have lost the virtues of trust and respect, go now and be humble yourself, and be ready to deal with another blind spot opportunity.

Silo thinking creates blind spots: The senior leader should have the ability to see the big picture, to complement the team’s viewpoint. Most teams operate with an incomplete and relatively small view of the world. Thus, too often in an effort to keep moving forward, they jump to the wrong conclusions. Since critical projects will be loaded with unforeseen obstacles, as a senior leader, your response may be more significant than you may realize. Do you add fuel to the fire with an overreaction or do you provide calm inquiry clearing the blind spots to help find out what is really happening? As the person that can see the bigger picture and is not living the day-to-day activities, the team needs you! If the project is failing, it could be because the company project management support system failed in some way, such as, failed to capture the right data, failed to stay in touch with the team, failed to see warning signs. The senior manager "owns" the PM process (how it is done around here), so a project failure is as much the senior manager's fault as the team, thus, that senior manager should adopt the posture of "we are in this together," to manage the collective insight and clear up the blind spot, to ensure the pieces of the puzzle can be integrated into a clear business picture.

Leadership misunderstanding: There is a certain misconception about leadership which will also cause blind spots in either strategy making and execution.  
-Leaders need to lead from the front rather than the rear.
-Seeing employees as workers and not innovators.
-Leaders have all the answers. A leader needs to have a passion for keeping learning and, for what he/she is doing.
- Top-down communication only. A failure to communicate via two-way-street creates an environment of suspicion, fear, and loathing. Be transparent. Keep employees informed of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The blind spots are perhaps inevitable, the point is how business leaders or managers shall learn to deal with them seamlessly; how to build a heterogeneous team which can bridge the cognitive difference, complement capability and skill set. It takes the attitude to keep learning, and it takes the insight to frame the right questions and answer them in a “mindful” way via collective wisdom.


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