Blind Spot #5 – Just The Facts Please…

Many leaders are seen as unapproachable and inauthentic by their teams. In fact, these leaders may not really be as cold and distant as they seem. In coaching or getting to know them personally, one finds that they have the same anxieties, fears, hopes, and other emotions that their teams carry. However, they have been taught to hide these emotions from their teams based on a mistaken assumption that to show or to share these feelings they will be seen as weak and ineffective. In fact, time after time we have witnessed their teams coming to their support and embracing them once they let others in. In today’s complex and dizzying environment, it is nearly impossible for one leader to be able to effectively lead all of the critical initiatives in his or her area of responsibility. This means that the leader has to have the ability to ask for help, admit ignorance, be able to share risk, and provide encouragement and feedback as appropriate. Otherwise, team members will quickly assess the risk associated with being pro-active and may take a more passive role that inevitably lowers the quantity and quality of the collective intelligence of the entire team. This often leads to less than optimal and sometimes disastrous consequences. For example, the recent manufacturing safety issues across the J&J manufacturing operations were anticipated by some of the key employees. However, leaders in the organization created a culture that made it too risky for employees to speak up in a timely manner.

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