This is my very subjective series on how to become a good leader. Everything I write serves as a reminder for myself and to give you an opportunity to reflect about your own leadership. It is probably good to start with the first part where I speak about the importance of crafting your leadership vision.
This time I want to speak about the importance of strengths and weaknesses.
Every good leadership program should include the discovery and analysis of your strengths and weaknesses. Although we spend every single day with ourselves, the question about our strengths is one of the hardest to answer for us. And although we focus more on the negative, it is almost as difficult to tell about our weaknesses than our strengths. Sure, we are aware but often, if we want to put it into words, we lack a precise answer.
A good start is to take exactly five minutes and jot down all the strengths and talents you think you have. For now, it doesn’t matter if others perceive it similarly. Write down every thought that pops up without overthinking everything. Try to aim at at least 20 things you think you are good at. This can also include that you are the best in making lasagna. In a second round do the same with your weaknesses.
Now, write down 2-3 situations where/when you exhibited this particular strength. Again, do the same with your weaknesses. Maybe you will already notice something about yourself.
However, you cannot be trusted 😀 At least not completely. We all have a lot of blind spots about ourselves. That is also a reason why feedback is so important. To get a more “complete” picture of your strengths and weaknesses, you can ask your friends, family, and if you are brave enough your colleagues and boss for feedback what they think/see your strengths and weaknesses are. Also, don’t be a sponge. A single feedback should not ruin your self-image. In both ways. Collect a few of those external insights and you might see a trend.
It is good to know about your strengths and weaknesses because then you can think about how you want to incorporate your strengths and how you want to deal with your weaknesses. Be it at work or in your private life. Knowing that I am not good at cleaning the dishes but good at doing groceries might be a valuable information for your partner and could prevent unnecessary arguments =).
But knowing your own strengths and weaknesses is only the first step of becoming a good leader. It is an underrated and overlooked quality to be able to spot strengths in others. I wrote an article about strengths spotting. Here you can read more about how to train this skill in a fun way.
Take care, Stephan