Leadership Principle #2 – Appreciate your own strengths and limitations and pursue self-improvement

Posted: February 21, 2012 in Leadership
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I’m continuing my series highlighting a different leadership principle each day. These will be described in greater detail in my forthcoming book, Brilliant Manoeuvres: How to Use Military Wisdom to Win Business Battles, to be published in the fall of 2012 by Global Professional Publishing.

We all have strengths and limitations, or weaknesses, to be less politically correct. You build on strengths and find ways to compensate for your weaknesses. No one can excel in everything. However, as a leader, you must at least try to excel in your field of endeavour. As I pointed out in my previous post, people will naturally tend to follow leaders who are competent, and who know how to win and succeed. You must therefore align your strengths to achieve professional competence in your particular field so you maximize your chances of success.

This principle is therefore really about self-awareness and self-knowledge. The more self-aware you are, and the more you know what makes you tick and what you’re all about, the more you can focus your efforts on building your stengths and limiting your weaknesses. What are some of the ways to limit your weaknesses? You can ally yourself with people with complementary skill sets, knowledge, or personality traits to yours. That way, your weakness can be offset by your colleagues’, and you can concentrate on your strengths. Another is to find a way to improve on certain key skills and competencies, if it is absolutely essential that you possess at least a modicum of capability in that area. Finally, you can simply avoid or minimize your exposure to situations that would require you to perform in an area of weakness. This is probably the least effective and least realistic approach, simply because you don’t always control those conditions. That is why it is important to build a team with skills and knowledge and traits that are complementary to your own and to acquire a bare minimum competency in key areas that can’t be avoided.

All this takes honesty and integrity, to recognize where you’re strong and where you’re weak, and to admit that you need to do something about it. But, without that honesty, you can’t really attain your full potential and thus, develop your full professional competency.

Tomorrow we’ll look at the third leadership principle from my list, Seek and Accept Responsibility.

© 2012 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes permitted with full and proper attribution.

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