Karin’s Leadership Articles

The Blind Spot Leading the Blind Spot

by | Feb 28, 2013 | Authenticity & Transparency, By Karin Hurt


We all have blind spots– aspects of our leadership style that we think are just fine and we don’t fully see the impact on others. What’s your blind spot?
Hah, that’s a trick question.

“The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it.”
~George Bernard Shaw

Blind spots are often our strengths weakened by metaphorical steroids.

When we are blinded by an over-used strength, it’s easy to become defensive.

“This is the core of who I am as a leader, I can’t change this!”
“This behavior is exactly WHY I am successful”
“Who are you to tell me this behavior doesn’t work.. are you as successful as me?”
And the trickiest one “Look at all the other successful leaders doing the same thing.”

Yup, there’s a short list of bad behaviors common in successful leaders. If you want to find other examples to justify your behaviors, you will find them. And thus, the blind spot cycle continues.

Unless you can take off your blinders and ask

“Is this person successful BECAUSE of this behavior
 or IN SPITE of it?

Of course, there are lots of ways to discover your blind spots (coaches, 360 feedback, assessments). However, if successful leaders don’t value or model this exploration they also reinforce that ignoring your blind spot is totally acceptable.

And once again, the blind spot leads the blind spot.

Are you a role model for blind spot exploration? Do you share with your team that you are working on you? Do you encourage your team and provide them resources to explore their troubling behaviors?

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders resolve workplace ambiguity and chaos, so that they can drive innovation, productivity and revenue without burning out employees. She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and a hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.


  1. Eric Dingler (@EricDingler)

    I know in my organization, my blind spots can multiply throughout my leadership staff based on two factors. 1. My leadership staff during summer camp are mostly 20 year olds that aren’t thinking ahead or thinking through leadership. The simply copy what they see me and the year round senior staff do. Which leads to the second factor. 2. More is caught than is taught.

  2. Karin Hurt

    Eric, thanks so much for adding that. Ahh yes, folks are always watching.

  3. Steve Borek

    Leaders need someone like a coach, confidante, etc. someone with no emotional attachment to their outcome to tell it like it is. They can shine a spotlight on the blind spots. (Heh, I have a blog post idea. ;-p)

    Assessments and 360’s are powerful. Many leaders can’t handle the truth these tools reveal.

    I give one at the beginning of an engagement. Then another a year later. The “team” decides in what areas the leader has changed.

    p.s. Only 30 days before I can eat sweets again.

  4. letsgrowleaders

    Steve, Thanks so much for your comment. Yup, that sounds like a great post idea. If you decide to write it, I would love to have you submit it to the Frontline Festival (a leadership carnival)… first deadline is March 8th, but I will be doing it each month. Sounds like a great message for frontline leaders.

    p.s. you sure do like these “challenges” sweets, yoga…


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