May 30, 2024

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When a Leader is Unable to See Others’ Points of View

Leadership requires vision, decisiveness, and the ability to inspire others. However, when a leader is unable to see perspectives beyond their own, it can lead to significant challenges within an organization. In this blog, I will share the causes, consequences, and potential solutions for this common leadership pitfall and share how I addressed it with leaders I have worked with some time ago.

The Importance of Perspective

Perspective is reality and leaders who see only their perspectives will miss the bigger picture, seeing only their singular view of the world.

Effective leaders are typically characterized by their ability to understand and incorporate diverse viewpoints. This not only fosters a collaborative environment but also promotes innovative solutions and inclusive decision-making. When leaders fail to do this, it can stifle creativity, lower morale, and foster a toxic work environment. Unfortunately, this leadership behaviour is more common than we would want to admit.

The Importance of Perspective

What Causes Narrow Perspective

There are many reasons why a leader would adopt a narrow perspective. Let’s examine the more common reasons.

  1. Ego and Pride: Some leaders may believe their ideas are superior and dismiss others' input. Often leaders have not had coaching or other self-reflection to help them improve their egos.
  2. Low Self-Esteem: Feeling insecure or lacking confidence can lead leaders to dismiss other viewpoints to protect their own self-worth. Leaders with low self-esteem may see differing opinions as a threat to their authority or competence, leading them to reject new ideas and perspectives.
  3. Lack of Empathy: A leader who cannot empathize with their team members’ experiences may struggle to understand their viewpoints or values.
  4. Cultural and Cognitive Biases: Personal biases can unconsciously influence a leader's openness to different perspectives. This can happen when leaders stop growing and learning, limiting their exposure and reference point.
  5. Inadequate Feedback Channels: Organizations that do not facilitate open communication can inadvertently support narrow-minded leadership. Leaders should be encouraged to give and receive feedback from their peers, superiors, and subordinates. This helps them build their feedback pathway and learn to handle feedback objectively.

Consequences of One-Sided Leadership

There are many consequences of this kind of behaviour. We have all heard the saying that employees leave leaders. It is hard for employees to grow with one sided leadership perspectives. Here are some other consequences that can happen.

  1. Reduced Employee Engagement: When employees feel unheard, their motivation and productivity often decline, resulting in them being disengaged and checking out.
  2. Poor Decision-Making: Ignoring diverse perspectives can lead to flawed decisions based on incomplete information. These poor decisions can also lead to costly consequences for the team and organization.
  3. Conflict and Resentment: An inability to appreciate different viewpoints can create tension and conflict within teams. This also makes it difficult for them to appropriately resolve conflicts internally, often viewing themselves as a victim.
  4. Stagnation: Innovation requires diverse thinking. Leaders who cannot see beyond their own ideas may stifle growth and adaptation causing great talents to walk out the door.
Consequences of One-Sided Leadership

Strategies to Broaden a Leader's Perspective

  1. Active Listening: Encourage leaders to practice active listening techniques and make a conscious effort to understand and value others' perspectives to promote consensus.
  2. Diversity Your Leaders: Invite leaders to share experiences, and viewpoints to naturally foster a broader perspective and foster a growth mindset among your leaders.
  3. Feedback Mechanisms: Implement regular and anonymous feedback processes to gather a wide range of insights and develop a way to help leaders assess the feedback with some coaching support.
  4. Leadership Training: Provide training focused on empathy, psychological safety, well-being, emotional intelligence, and unconscious bias to help leaders become more self-aware and open-minded.
  5. Mentorship and Coaching: Pair leaders with mentors or coaches who can provide new perspectives and challenge their thinking. This will build their feedback ability and make them more open to feedback from their team.

For an organization to thrive, its leaders must be open to different viewpoints. By recognizing the importance of diverse perspectives and actively working to overcome biases, leaders can foster a more inclusive, innovative, and productive work environment.

Something to Ponder

  • How might your organization change if leaders consistently valued and incorporated diverse perspectives?
  • What are the underlying beliefs or biases that might be preventing leaders from seeing others' viewpoints?
  • How does the current organizational culture support or hinder open communication and diverse thinking?

Action Steps

Encouraging leaders to expand their perspectives is an ongoing process that requires commitment, self-awareness, and a willingness to grow. It’s a crucial step toward effective, empathetic leadership that benefits the entire organization.

 Learn about our relational leadership program

To Your Wellness


About the author

Joyce Odidison is a Coach, Mediator, Facilitator, Keynote Speaker, and Thought Leader of the groundbreaking Well-being Intelligence Curriculum. With a career spanning over 27 years as a Conflict Analyst, Professional Trainer, University Lecturer, and Master Certified Coach, Joyce helps organizations solve difficult challenges and transition into psychologically safe workspaces that promotes inclusiveness and well-being. As President and CEO of Interpersonal Wellness Services Inc., she has designed transformative training sessions and curricula for her clients, as well as some offered exclusively through her company, such as the Global Workplace Wellness Summit and an ICF Approved Coach Training program. She can be reached at

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