Your Strengths Can Be Weaknesses

images-1An article with BloombergBusinessweek says: “When it comes to making major mistakes, it’s not your weaknesses that will get you in trouble, it’s your strengths.”

Isn’t this true?

I know what my weaknesses are, so as a leader, I work in those areas. I find people who are strong in areas that I’m weak. I empower them, defer to them, and am quick to stay out of things that I have no business trying to figure out.

Where I get in trouble is when I’m working in my strengths. I feel confident in my strengths (sometimes too confident), I’m willing to take risks in my strengths (sometimes too many risks), and I’m a little blind because of strengths (sometimes I don’t see things I need to see).

We’ve talked a lot about strengths & leadership styles but I wanted to add one more thought to this conversation:

We all need balance.  Balance in our leadership styles, balances in our strengths & preferences, balance in how we lead.  Balance.

Alexandre Dumas once wrote, “Any virtue carried to an extreme can become a crime.”  And so it is with our strengths!

Merrick Rosenberg shares on Team Builders Plus 12 ways to learn to function in your areas of strength. By compensating, you’ll help empower others, you’ll bring some much-needed balance to your leadership, and you’ll build unity among your team.  Here are her examples, strengths and the balanced response:

1) Directness – Ask more questions, soften the tone of your words

2) Reactive Nature – Respond instead of react; think before you speak

3) Conviction – The strength in which you convey your own ideas may cause others to believe that you are not open to their ideas

4) Enthusiasm for Ideas – Stay focused on the task, not just the idea of the task

5) Desire to keep things positive – Be firm and direct in dealing with less favorable situations or inappropriate behavior of others

6) Big-picture thinking – Provide details to others who need them

7) Helpful nature – Assert your right to say “no” when helping interferes with your own productivity

8) Desire for harmony – View conflict as an opportunity for positive growth and change

9) Willingness to take on responsibility – Delegate to others if your plate is ful

10) Dedication to work – Explore the benefits of play

11) Desire for the “right” answer – Develop a greater tolerance for ambiguity, and human imperfection

12) Rational nature – Recognize that others may react to situations from the heart, rather than from the head, and that neither is good or bad

Think about your strengths.

Which ones have the potential to get you in trouble?

Which ones, if you aren’t really aware of them, may cause hurt or misunderstanding with other team members?

Don’t let your strengths undermine your potential and your effectiveness.  Use them and develop them, but don’t let them get in the way of the bigger purpose.

For More On Leadership Styles

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