Friday, March 8, 2013

Strength = Weakness

We all do a little self-talk from time to time. Okay, everyday we practice this technique whether we know it or not. It just seems to happen. We strategize options, consider our strengths, and then make decisions to move forward. We rely on what has worked for us in the past to help determine what the appropriate steps are moving forward. At least we have our strengths to rely on when faced with adversity.

Unless our strengths will do us no good.

Strengths Are No Good
You might be wondering if I've lost my mind, but hear me out. We all have skills and approaches that have proven to not only fit well with our personalities and comfort level in the workplace, but they have also brought us a measure of success. We rely on these approaches and use them frequently. Sometimes we are described as "driven" and we push hard for things to get accomplished. That is a good thing.

The problem arises when we are unable to recognize that in certain situations our passion for being "driven" is no longer an appropriate leadership behavior to work through a particular situation. Now what? Are we lost? Do we throw our hands up in the air? Or worse, do we let our emotions dictate our behavior which typically leads down a slippery slope of lost credibility?

It's Not About Strengths
The solution lies in the very early stages of the various conflicts and issues that present themselves in our lives. If we leverage our self-talk so intensely that we convince ourselves we should keep pushing for what we believe in, versus leveraging another leadership skill - humility - we risk never being able to solve problems collaboratively.

"If your leadership style is about winning at all costs, you are guaranteed to lose. However, if you are willing to leverage your passion with a healthy dose of humility, you are guaranteed to win."

How About You
In Jim Collins' terrific Harvard Business Review article he describes the potent combination of leadership skills that have driven organizations to incredible levels of success: an iron will and an incredible sense of humility. He calls these very unique individuals "Level 5 Leaders." Don't let your strengths inadvertently hurt your leadership. Are you Level 5 material?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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