Many firms exalt sales people and other top performers for their go-get-‘em qualities: quick-wittedness, self-confidence, assertiveness, ingenuity, and initiative – even perfectionism. We often cultivate and reward the behaviors we value in ourselves. As we grow, we recognize that complementary skill sets are essential to round out the capabilities of the team.
As leaders, we know where our skills lie and what’s missing More often than not, we possess both the virtues and weaknesses of our strengths. Did we come up short on patience when we acquired our quick-wittedness? Does our self-confidence intimidate others whom we value for steady work and supportive relationships? And when does our assertiveness exceed the bounds of civility or kindness? How can we dial back some of our killer instincts in service to more beneficial long-term relationships with the people who matter?
It’s easier to flag the weaknesses in others as development challenges or chalk them up to inexperience. When we look in the mirror, what development challenges or short straws are we willing to own? And what holds us back in work and personal relationships? How willing are we to admit that our reactions can be out of alignment with the person we want to be? How can we cultivate in ourselves the skills we admire in others, including compassion, patience, forgiveness and understanding?
When I moved from financial marketer to coach, I discovered my own “short straws”. By being driven and always working on the next deadline, I missed noticing what mattered to my team and enjoying the ride. I could have been more patient, taken more time with people to understand their needs and how I could help them. I could have elicited more feedback as often as I provided it. Good people can offer some great ideas.
Fast forward to today. I have learned that my personal weaknesses were nothing more than growth opportunities. Grow compassion. Cultivate curiosity. Identify where ego rears its head. Cultivating the weaknesses of my own strengths has empowered me to help other leaders with extraordinary technical skills achieve more with less resistance. Expanding self-awareness and building the qualities that allow you to show up differently at work and in relationships. With that knowledge, you cultivate deeper personal relationships at work and at home, and work to become the best possible version of yourself.
This deeply rewarding work is leadership coaching. For more information, give me a call.