Leadership Blindspots

How successful leaders identify and overcome the weaknesses that matter

Robert Bruce Shaw


Are You Getting in the Way of Your Own Success?

Leadership Blindspots is packed with detailed case studies examining how blindspots operate, using examples from firms like Apple, Amazon, Hewlett-Packard, JC Penney and JPMorgan Chase. These cases show how a leader’s blindspots can lead to devastating mistakes if they aren’t recognized and acted on. Author Robert Bruce Shaw examines the most common types of blindspots and provides worksheets and assessment tools to help individuals at all levels of a company avoid being blindsided by weaknesses and threats that they don’t see or fully understand.

Good leaders become great by skillfully managing their own vulnerabilities

Leadership Blindspots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome the Weaknesses That Matter is a comprehensive guide to recognizing and acting on the weak points that can impair effectiveness, diminish results, and harm a career. The book contains examples, worksheets, and surveys that illustrate the practical application of the advice presented. An online questionnaire helps readers discover their own leadership vulnerabilities, and the book provides a road map for creating a targeted plan to increase awareness in the areas that will impact their success.

The blindspot risk is that leaders fail to respond to weaknesses or threats due to a variety of factors including the complexity of their organizations, over-confidence in their own capabilities, and from being surrounded by deferential subordinates. Leadership Blindspots provides a useful model for understanding how blindspots operate and why they persist, but at the same time suggests real, actionable steps to improvement. The book details a range of techniques that make blindspots stand out in sharp relief, so action can be taken before severe damage occurs—to a leader or his or her company. Topics include:

  • A framework to understand the threats posed by blindspots
  • The four most important types of blindspots—self, team, company, and markets
  • Detailed case studies of blindspots in leaders across a variety of industries
  • A summary of the most common leadership blindspots
  • Corrective practices that help mitigate the risks that blindspots pose

The one characteristic great leaders share is the constant desire for self-improvement. Good can always be better. Some weaknesses and threats are called blindspots because they are invisible to the individual but have the potential to wreak havoc on one’s reputation and long-term success. Identifying and fixing crucial problems is the leader’s job, and sometimes the most debilitating problems are with the leaders themselves. Leadership Blindspots is the first step toward owning and addressing one’s vulnerabilities and, as a result, becoming a more effective leader.

Praise for Leadership Blindspots

The best leaders are brutally honest with themselves and their team members, seeing reality for what it is and then taking action to address any weaknesses. Robert Shaw, who has extensive experience working with successful leaders, provides insight into how to avoid fooling yourself about what is really going on in your company and markets.

—Michael J. Thomson, president and chief operating officer, SunCoke Energy

Robert Shaw’s book Leadership Blindspots underscores the need to be both confident in your leadership capabilities and, at the same time, open to hearing contrary points of view, including feedback about your leadership impact. Individuals at all levels of a company will benefit from Robert’s clear advice on how to lead effectively.

—Sylvia Montero, author, Make It Your Business

Optimism is both necessary and problematic for those leading a company. This book is particularly useful for entrepreneurial leaders who need to be careful that their drive and passion does not blind them to the challenges they face in growing their business. Leadership Blindspots helps you surface what you need to know to be successful.

—Michael J. Kelly, chief executive officer, On Call International

Leaders are sometimes blinded to the opportunities to grow their firms because they can’t see beyond their current business model. Robert Shaw highlights the need to test one’s core beliefs and assumptions. In particular, he offers pragmatic advice on building a leadership team that can look at a firm’s vulnerabilities and think beyond the status quo.

—Mark Ronald, former president and chief executive officer, BAE Systems, Inc.


RBS-504x504 Robert Bruce Shaw is a management consultant specializing in organization and leadership performance. He has worked closely with leaders and their teams in a wide range of industries and is the author of several books, including Trust in the Balance: Building Successful Organizations on Results, Integrity, and Concern.