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Five Blind Spots That Keep Smart Managers From Becoming Brilliant Leaders — With Real-Life Examples

Source | | Caroline Ceniza-Levine

As an executive coach, I have the privilege of working closely with bright, enthusiastic professionals. Most of my clients are relatively early in a fast-moving career when they come to me (or when their company hires me). They are flagged as high potentials and have already managed project teams and individual contributors. Now these high-profile talents are stepping up and managing a department budget, sometimes a full P&L, and more complex teams, including managers and a bigger staff downstream.

These individuals achieve much and are arguably taking on similar tasks but just on a broader scale. What could be the problem? The problem is: what worked before won’t necessarily continue to work. Many early managers who run into problems as their scope increases have a go-to communication style and approach to problems, which they continue to use liberally but it becomes less effective or unreliable, and then they’re stuck.

Maybe this is happening to you:  you have recently moved into a bigger management role. Things seemed easier and clearer before. You’re working hard, but something doesn’t seem quite right. You’re a smart manager. Why can’t you figure this out?

It is difficult to see the picture when you are inside the frame. – John Doerr

When you’re in the thick of the problem, sometimes you don’t even see there is a problem. You have a blind spot, so how can you fix what you can’t identify? Here are five blind spots that keep smart managers from becoming brilliant leaders:

You assume your way is the best way

I coached a brilliant engineer who could rattle off analyses a mile a minute and with a smile. He was enthusiastic and passionate about the fast-growing online retail company he was supporting. He had been tapped to turn around an underperforming regional office that housed multiple critical functions – including many of the creative functions. Jerry could clearly see how to bring this office into profitability and was shocked to receive a lukewarm, and in some cases, chilly reception from the staff.

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