To be the most effective leader, you need to leverage your strengths and delegate your weaknesses(as mentioned in a previous blog ) or develop systems to address them. But how do you discover your strengths? Many people, even some senior leaders, don’t realize what their true strengths are. Many times, you are placed into leadership positions not because of your strengths but because of your formal education, number of years of experience in your field or with the company or perhaps you talked your way into a position you were under qualified for.
One of the keys to being a successful leader is to leverage your strengths. But how do you know what your strengths are and how they can best support you in a leadership position?
Here are three ways to discover your true strengths:
1. What Is One Skill You Possess That People Admire?
It could be your negotiation skills, your organizational skills, your public speaking skills, your ability to build or fix things, etc. If people admire you for it, there is a good chance it comes relatively easy for you and you enjoy doing it.
2. What Is The One Or Two Things Friends Come To You For Advice On?
It could be anything, from relationship, fitness, and travel, to accounting, or leadership advice. Whatever it is, you are most likely effective in the area and you should consider it a strength.
3. What Do You Lose Track of Time Doing?
In other words, when do you experience flow? In positive psychology, flow, also known as the zone, is characterized by complete absorption in what one does. Academic literature often uses expert rock climbers as an example. When you do the activity, you are able to block out distractions, focus on a single task and embrace the challenge.
Once you have discovered your true strengths and how they can support your team it is important to share this information with the team (along with your weaknesses). Think about the team you are a part of right now. Does everyone know your strengths and weaknesses? Do you know everyone else’s?
Research has shown a majority of the workforce is not working in a position which maximizes their strengths. Even if your current role is not playing directly to your strengths, it is important to let your team know where you feel your strengths lie, especially if you feel you may be of assistance to one of them. So much talent within a team is wasted because people are not aware of the talent around them.
By sharing your strengths, you may not only be helping your teammates but you may help yourself move into a position which plays to your strengths. A classic example of this is a person who is outsourcing the editing of grant proposals when there is a person on the team not working in an editing capacity but has a talent and interest in copyediting who could be reviewing the proposals without extra cost to the company.
Do you know the strength of your team members, do they know yours? Now go out and discover your strengths and everyone your work with to take your team to the next level.
Until next week… Embrace the Adventure!
Shawn Stratton is an international leadership and team building consultant, professional speaker, bestselling author, Ironman competitor, expedition guide and podcast host.