What Bad Leaders Get Wrong About Their Weaknesses

Nobody is perfect. We all have things we need to work on to improve our skills, and this is especially true of leaders. Unfortunately, many fail when promoted to a leadership position. While there are many reasons that can contribute to each individual failure, many of the problems arise because of people who are unwilling to address or downright ignore their own weaknesses.

Ignoring Your Weaknesses As a Leader Will Cause You to Fail

Whether you don’t know how to speak to your employees or misunderstand the importance of workplace discipline, focusing on your weaknesses so you can turn them into strengths may be one of the most important things you ever do as a leader.

Learn to identify your own weaknesses.

Focusing on one’s weaknesses may not be very fun, but it is essential if you wish to be an effective leader. However, many people in a position of leadership struggle to identify what their weaknesses are, either because of pride or misconceptions about their performance.

Improving your self-awareness about your weaknesses is key. Motivational speaker and author Alan Stein Jr. told me on the Follow My Lead Podcast, “you increase your self-awareness by getting feedback from people you trust.” Open yourself up to listening to people close to you or to the people that report to you (they know how you lead best).

This could come in the form of a formal 360° leadership assessment or a simple one-on-one conversation. The key is that you are asking others to improve your self-awareness about where there are opportunities for growth. 

Stop assuming you can’t get better at them.

Too often, leaders believe their strengths and weaknesses from a leadership perspective are personality traits that are set in stone. A great example of this came from Mel Robbins on Tom Bilyeu’s show Impact Theory, “I used to think confidence was a personality trait. The truth is confidence isn’t a personality trait at all.”

Robbins is right about confidence and the same could be said for many of the other important skills within leadership such as empathy and positivity. You can grow and get better. If your mindset doesn’t reflect this belief, the chances of you ever reaching your full potential from a leadership perspective is slim to none.

The good news is once you get your mindset to one of growth, you will look at every event as an opportunity to learn and get better.

Focus on continual improvement.

While there are some areas where it is better to delegate responsibility to others, personal improvement should always be a goal for any leader. You may not be able to become a professional golfer, but you can improve the way you lead your team.

Since leadership is a journey and not a destination, you always have to be thinking long-term about your development and not the immediate. If you don’t already find time to work with a coach or participating in training programs that target your weaknesses. Getting help from an expert will help you identify the fastest way to improve your performance.

None of this will necessarily make you an expert. These areas will still be weaker than your natural strengths. But as you focus on trying to learn and improve these skills each day, you can ensure that they will no longer drag down your own performance or the performance of your team.

When you have a leadership role, it can be all too easy to get caught up in the ways your team members need to improve. But you can’t ignore your own imperfections. By exercising some humility to identify ways you need to change, you will become a more dynamic leader who is better positioned to lead your company.

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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company which exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on instagram @johngeades.