Great leaders aren’t born; they are made. The biggest mistake that many leaders make is feeling like they need to know everything and become an expert at everything. Instead, embrace your weaknesses by staying humble and getting the right people around you. Today on the Champion Forum Podcast, we discuss how great leaders can prevent their weaknesses from becoming excuses.
Why do leaders fail to embrace their weaknesses?
Not Acknowledging Their Weakness:
Not being able to acknowledge your imperfections is a weakness of its own. On the other hand, because your weaknesses can be the very thing that keeps you from becoming stagnant in your development, accepting them makes you a stronger person and a better leader. Embracing your weaknesses means you can either develop the skills or delegate the skills. Either way, you need to get the job done.
Trying to keep a “perfect” image:
Trying to keep a perfect, strong image can lead others to believe you’re only showing a narrow “sample” of your true self. Sharing your flaws will lead people to see you as an honest and trustworthy leader.
Q: Do you have an easy time identifying your weaknesses? Why or why not? What has been your strategy for dealing with your weaknesses? Is it effective? Why or why not?
Benefits of Acknowledging Your Weaknesses
1. You begin to know who you can really trust.
Where you are weak, others are likely strong. By knowing your leadership weaknesses, you know where to trust others and utilize their strengths. Your team will enjoy their work more when they feel valued for doing what they do best.
2. It allows you to know where you need to improve.
Although it is a good idea to trust others to lead in areas that are not your strongest or your area of focus, progressive leaders still obtain a minimum level of competence in their weaknesses. If a deficiency isn’t pulled up to an acceptable threshold of competence, it can rob you of credibility.
3. It allows you to spend most of your time on your strengths.
A high-impact leader recognizes their weaknesses so that their time and energy can be deployed toward their strengths. If you don’t know what your weaknesses are, you run the risk of spending significant time outside your area of strength.
Q: What are the unique strengths of everyone on your team? Which of those strengths complement your weaknesses? Are there any tasks you are holding on to that would be better to delegate? Is your team comfortable acknowledging their shortcomings? How could you help create a culture that values that level of vulnerability?
Identify your weaknesses. Reviewing old performance reviews or talking to a mentor are good places to start. Work with a mentor or boss to ensure that you are taking the correct approach for each of your weaknesses, either delegation or improvement.
Are there any weaknesses on your team as a whole? The next time you are looking to hire, try to hire qualified candidates with a strength in your team’s weakness. For example, if your team has many visionaries and people who enjoy looking at the big picture, find candidates who value structure and enjoy developing processes to get things done. Or maybe your team is very good with analytics and design but struggles to innovate. Look for creative candidates who enjoy taking reasonable risks to improve their work.
Identify a weakness where you do need to develop basic competence. Any leader may have this kind of weakness, but it is most common in leaders taking over new teams. Work with a mentor or manager to get you up to speed quickly so this weakness does not harm your credibility with your team. Being honest with your team throughout this process will help you develop a culture of personal development and vulnerability and will help hold you accountable to your goals.