Over the years I’ve been acutely aware of my weaknesses that have surfaced in my leadership ability. At the same time I always knew that coaching and assessments could help me get beyond my weaknesses, but I could never quite could convince others that it was worth the investment to do so. Over the last 11 months I’ve been able to take advantage of these things and have been able to effectively confront my weaknesses that have been constraining me as a leader. Through this I’ve learned some valuable things about what NOT to do with your weakness.
1. Don’t Ignore It – As a leader, you have to have a willingness to confront your weaknesses. I’ve read in leadership books to not pay attention to your weakness but focus on your strengths. I’m not saying that we should give all our time to focus on our weakness, yet if we completely ignore our weakness it will begin to sap our strength! When I acknowledge my weakness I now create an openness to get some outside help from God and others.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. - 2 Corinthians 12:9
2. Don’t Hide It - When you hide your weakness you not only are hurting yourself, you will begin hurting your organization. A prime example of this in my own life is my tendency to be quiet in meetings that I’m a part of. I will often go into meetings and listen intently and because I’m a processor I will not give any feedback until the following day. The problem with that approach to meetings is that some decisions need to be made now and not tomorrow. Now that I realize that I’m invited to meetings because they need me to speak into things I make up my mind before I sit down that I’m going to say something. It might be irrelevant but I make it point to confront my weakness by speaking up and making my thoughts known even if they are totally processed. I’m practicing thinking out loud!
3. Don’t Use it as an Excuse - Being aware of your weakness doesn’t give you an excuse to do nothing about it. When we exercise our weakness we get stronger. I recently started doing CrossFit again. I became aware of my weakness as soon as the clock started. I could stop the work out and say, “I can’t do it” or I can suck it up, do what I can do, experience the pain of my weakness and over time become stronger. Recently I took an assessment that identified things that were constraining my leadership. I knew all about these constraints because they have confronted by ability to lead for years. The difference this time is that after the assessment I developed an “exercise plan” to address these constraints that will eventually make me a stronger leader when I take action.
Awareness of weakness is not enough. A willingness to confront our weaknesses with action is required. Don’t ignore it, don’t hide it and don’t excuse it. Do something about it!
What weaknesses are constraining you as a leader?