Practical insights for leaders

What are your blind spots?

Hint: You have no idea

‘Every leader needs a fool’, says management thinker Manfred Kets de Vries.  

De Vries’s fool is someone who can tell you the unvarnished truth about your impact and reputation. Perhaps the Medieval royal courts were on to something with their court jesters, who had the right to mock freely without fear of punishment. 

In modern society, the unfortunate reality is that as you become more senior, fools are harder to come by. As a result, many leaders find themselves in an echo chamber: truth at the top is more difficult to swallow, and colleagues have little incentive to give feedback that matters.

So, if self-awareness is key to growth, how can you increase it? This month’s Acumen suggests that self-reflection only takes us so far. The real way to find your fools? Ask for them.


Read: The right way to be introspective | Tasha Eurich | 6-minute read

Introspection is key to self-awareness and good leadership. Yet in this article, organisational psychologist Tasha Eurich argues that most of us are going about it the wrong way — research shows that standard self-reflection questions can actually lead to negative outcomes such as stress, depression and anxiety.

For more effective introspection, Eurich suggests an alternative approach, which she dubs ‘what, not why’. By focusing on what (What’s going on? What am I feeling?) rather than why (Why is this happening? Why did I react like that?) in moments of self-reflection, we get the chance to replace a poor and biased view of reality with more accurate insight into our situation.


Cadence Resource: 360 Stakeholder Insight

360 stakeholder feedback is a fantastic way to get an outside perspective on how you’re showing up as a leader. Cadence’s own 360 Stakeholder Insight process takes a deeply human look at your leadership impact, driven by an expert interview and feedback collation process.

Past clients have described Stakeholder Insight as a life-changing experience and the most effective tool they have found for exposing blind spots and improving performance. 

View a sample report to see the 360 Stakeholder Insight difference for yourself.


A tip from the world of sports:

‘If you’ve ever played sports, you know the value of reviewing the game tape with coaches and colleagues who keep you honest. Why don’t we do the same thing at work?’ — Adam Grant, Organisational Psychologist

Plus, what you can learn from silence in the room:

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