Turn Your Weaknesses Into Strengths So You Can Lead Others
Turn your weaknesses into strengths so you can successfully lead others. This is easier said than done, but it’s doable!
I have several weaknesses that I have had to overcome in my life to lead a successful company of over one hundred people. I am horrible at organization. If you were to look at my desk at any given time, you would see days old water cups, keys, phone and wallet haphazardly tossed around, items that don’t belong on my desk that have sat there for months. It’s embarrassing I admit, and usually every six months, I clean it up and vow never to do it again, but yet two weeks later the vicious cycle repeats.
What is it about my personality that causes this to happen time and time again? The reason for this is impatience and my knack for getting sidetracked very easily. I sit down at my desk, focus in on my computer and before I know it I’m submerged in my daily task lists of answering questions, following up on emails and deciding which direction our sales and marketing should go. Everything else in my peripheral vision fades away, and before I know it, it’s time to go home.
Even when I’m lost in my world of the computer, I get sidetracked easily. With so many things happening all at once, it’s hard for me to stay focused on one thing at a time. Writing this blog, for instance, has been a challenge with all the notifications going off on my phone, my Skype blowing up with employees and managers needing quick decisions. It’s a wonder that I can get anything done at all.
I have other weaknesses as well that without help would have been detrimental to my business. I am lazy about taking notes, as I think I can keep everything in my head. However, as I age, I realize my brain can’t store all the information it used to. How do I overcome this weakness? I use my iPhone’s voice app to record important meetings. I also make use of the reminders app on all my Apple devices so I don’t forget things. You see, there is always a work around to help you with your weaknesses, you just have to first admit the weakness and be innovative on how to remove it.
Now, to the part of how to turn your weaknesses into effective leadership tools.
1.) Identify Your Weaknesses and Accept Them.
The first step in turning your weaknesses into leadership opportunities is to identify your faults. It’s hard to turn a weakness into a strength, if you are unaware of or if you are in denial that weakness even exists. Everyone has weaknesses and you are no exception to the rule. If you feel like you don’t have a weakness, then that’s a weakness right there.
2.) Get Help From Trusted Advisors or Friends
There is nothing wrong with getting advice or help from people willing to give it. I love having a mentor that I can turn to when I don’t have the answers. It’s always a sigh of relief when I either get validation for a decision I made or advice on how to make a decision that perplexes me. I’ve also been to counselors for other times of needs, and they are always beneficial. So there is nothing wrong with getting help where you can get it.
See Article: Hey Pakistan, You Have Mental Healthcare Issues!
3.) Hire People That Compensate For Your Weaknesses
This is a key point to me. After describing my desk and office situation above, you may wonder how in the world does this guy run a tip-top, highly processed and highly organized company? Well, I hired the right person to fulfill that role, and wow did she do a fantastic job. My COO, Tara Waddle, has done things I would never have been able to do by organizing, writing processes, creating systems and most importantly holding people accountable to use those systems. I gave her the freedom and the keys to build the entire organizational machine of my company and now she “owns” a large part of the success of the company. When you allow your employees to invest themselves into your business, they can do amazing things.
When you allow your employees to invest themselves into your business, they can do amazing things.
4.) Always Over-Prepare
I also have a weakness on food knowledge. For some reason, my brain can’t retain what food goes with what, and all the crazy names of menu items at most restaurants. When we go to a restaurant with friends, I panic when I see the menu. I don’t know what most of it means unless I am at a good old-fashioned American cuisine restaurant. I have to lean over and ask my wife, what is Corn Succotash? What is a Chicken Costoletta? So now, what I do is, I will research the restaurant’s menu thoroughly in advance. This way I feel confident and sure when I order in front of the other people at our table.
This point goes hand in hand with any other weakness you may have. Not good with directions? Study a map well ahead before you leave on your journey. Don’t want to be late for your four o’clock meeting? Research your destination ahead of time so you will know where to park.
5.) Make Yourself Learn Enough To Be Scary
I was asked this question today while giving a presentation to University Students at Bahria University in Islamabad. The student asked me, “Do I need to be an expert in the industry my business idea is in?” I said, “No, you don’t have to be an expert, but you need to know enough to be scary.” This saying means, if you start a software development company, you don’t have to be an expert software developer. You hire other people to fulfill that role. I told him, it’s better if you’re not an expert, so you don’t get pulled into fixing software problems all the time, thus distracting you from working on your business. However, I advised him to know enough about software to identify when your team is fulfilling their jobs correctly or not. Know enough about software programmers and their habits so that you can lead them effectively.
We all have weaknesses whether it’s not being organized, being too shy to talk to strangers or being over-confident to a fault. If a person truly wants to succeed and overcome these weaknesses, they first need to identify their weaknesses. Once you have been able to indentify your weaknesses, then and only then can you plan to overcome them. You can overcome them on your own, or entlist the help of trusted friends and advisors to help you. If you are a business owner, then you need to hire employees that can help you overcome these weaknesses by doing jobs that you are not so great at doing.
Being a successful leader is one that is resourceful enough to overcome weaknesses one way or another.