Can you guess the #1 Management Blind Spot?

One-in-Three Managers has a “Blind Spot.” Can you guess what it is?

In Recognition and Engagement by Lori McKnight

Can you guess the #1 Management Blind Spot?

I love reading Harvey Schachter’s Careers column in Saturday’s Globe and Mail. Last week, Harvey wrote about nine common complaints by employees about their leaders – the Nine Fatal Flaws as he calls them – extreme behaviors that limit a manager’s effectiveness and in some organizations impedes their road to the top job.

Two points struck me about this study of over one thousand leaders, summarized in the Harvard Business Review:

  1. One-in-three of us exhibit a fatal flaw but are completely unaware of it, despite the fact those around us are very aware of our blind spot. Hmmm… wondering what mine might be.
  2. These flaws are not fixed or innate. They demonstrate a lack empathy aka emotional intelligence, time or basic social skills.
Blind Spot
Source: Asia Marketing Insights

The #1 Fatal Flaw

What do you think the #1 fatal flaw cited in a recent Harris Online 360 degree study was?

  1. Unrealistic workload and timelines
  2. Berating behaviors/bullying
  3. Not recognizing employee achievements

If you guessed C you’d be correct. In fact, 7 of the 9 fatal flaws involve some sort of lack of recognition.

  • Not recognizing employee achievements (63%)
  • Not recognizing importance of personal meetings (52%)
  • Refusing to talk to subordinates; not recognizing it takes a team (51%)
  • Not recognizing or worse taking credit for other’s ideas (47%)
  • Not recognizing employees need for constructive feedback (39%)
  • Not knowing employees’ names (really! hopefully they recognize their employees!) (36%)
  • Not recognizing employees as both people and performers; not asking about employees lives outside of work (23%)

The two remaining flaws involved poor communication skills:

  • Not giving clear directions (57%)
  • Refusing to talk with people on the phone or in-person (34%)

Recognition is the first step…in more ways than one.

Organizations need to recognize that managers with fatal flaws have the lowest employee engagement, customer satisfaction, employee retention and productivity. Bottom line, according to a recent Forbes article, is that organizations pay a high price for keeping these managers in leadership roles.

Secondly, these managers need to recognize their own shortcomings and that their fatal flaw has negative consequences. Too often this is the elephant in the room, no one addresses for fear of conflict or the wrath it may spark. The reality is we all have flaws. None of us are perfect. These managers need to know their weaknesses. Most of the fatal flaws listed are errors of omission i.e. “not” recognizing others or “not” recognizing the importance of building personal relationships. Managers may be doing a lot of things well, but these omissions are making them significantly less effective.

Thirdly, change will only occur if these managers feel supported, not criticized. Negative feedback is tricky but when delivered in a constructive way with encouragement, change will occur. An important aspect of the change process often overlooked is rewarding managers for progress on these soft skills. 360 degree surveys are a great way to gauge progress, share and reward results. In fact, in the Forbes example 71 of the 98 executives with low scores showed significant improvement in the competency on which they received a low score one year after being told about their fatal flaw.

How we can help

CSI STARS social recognition dashboard makes it easy for managers to recognize employee accomplishments and great ideas publicly. Managers can also send personal notes of thanks for contributions and nominate employees for actions that are aligned with their company’s core values. These efforts are a step forward on the path to being more approachable and better communicators.

CSI STARS social recognition dashboard

CSI STARS social recognition app

In addition, every recognition event is tracked in the system allowing leaders to see the efforts their managers are making. Personally recognizing this progress is the best reward but CSI STARS also allows for monetary rewards to encourage and reinforce the behaviors to overcome those fatal flaws.

Learn More! Request a short demo and one of our experienced engagement professionals can show you how these simple management tools can make even the biggest elephants in the room remember to say thanks!

Author: Lori McKnight

Lori McKnight
Lori is the VP of Recognition for CSI International Inc. She has a MBA with a minor in Human Resources, is a Certified Recognition Professional and member of the SHRM blog squad. Prior to joining CSI STARS, she worked at Mercer Human Resource Consulting and Youthography, a youth market research agency. Connect with CSI STARS on LinkedIn to learn how we cultivate a workforce that loves coming to work.