People Leadership Blindspots – They don’t know what they dont know – The macro johari window

Sandeep Malhotra

Sandeep Malhotra

February 20, 2023 3 min read

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The Staggering Gap between how people leaders see themselves and how their team members perceive them. We call these People Leadership Blindspots.

People Leadership Blindspots

Our data reveals that most managers display an optimism bias on people management competencies like communicating candidly, involving in decision making, caring, being reliable and setting right expectations; where they think they do a better job than what their team members think. We term them as people leadership blindspots. Read on for more.


People managers from various organizations use our AI-powered people leadership assessment and development platform to track and improve their team’s feedback. Just when they are getting started with the platform, they also complete a self-assessment which is followed by an anonymous team feedback survey. Inspired by the heuristic exercise created by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham – Johari Window, we help people managers better understand their leadership blindspots.

Both the self assessment and the team feedback is based on a psychometrically reliable and valid people leadership assessment instrument that measures managers on 17 dimensions of people management (as mentioned in the table above) across 3 factors – how well do you connect with your team, develop their skills and inspire them to bring out the best in them (Connect, Develop & Inspire Framework). In their team feedback analytics dashboard, they see a heatmap, like the illustration below, where darker shades of red indicate a higher disparity between their self perception and their team’s perception of their people management competencies.


In our data (summarized in the table at the beginning of this article and presented in the chart below) we identified 5 blindspots that are widespread. Each of these dimensions have 70% or more managers for whom these are significant blindspots.


Most Common Manager Blindspots

manager blindspots
  1. Candid Communication
  2. Involvement in Decisions
  3. Reliability
  4. Care for Individual
  5. Expectation Setting

Nobody wakes up in the morning, with the intent of being a “Bad Boss”. Most managers don’t know that they aren’t managing effectively. These unknown knowns are the biggest barriers towards improving managerial effectiveness and an organization’s ability to turn them into known knowns can be the lowest hanging fruit in its quest to drive change at scale. We manage most parts of our organizations with metrics. We help our people keep scores. Key performance metrics may vary by sector and function, but they always exist. To beat the economic headwinds, if organizations really want to put their money where their mouth is, investing in people management effectiveness is certainly the need of the hour.They must consider giving their managers a scorecard, ideally a real-time one, that tells them the truth about how they are doing in their role as managers.

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