You’re a leader. You’re human. You try to be the best you can be, but, like everyone else, you have your failings.
That’s just the way it is. It’s not, however, the way it’s got to be. Not by a long shot.
A good leader (that’s you) will acknowledge their weaknesses and rise above them.
How do you rise above them? By turning them into strengths.
The importance of knowing your weaknesses
When we’re strong in something, we’re comfortable. We feel safe, confident. Too safe (and maybe too confident).
Our weaknesses hold us back. We can’t let this happen when, fundamentally, we’re at the helm of something that we want to develop, to progress. It needs to change — and it can change.
As leaders, if we see an opportunity to improve, we must grab it with both hands to help the business grow. It’s part of good leadership.
Common leadership weakness
Taking that difficult first step of acknowledging your weaknesses is hard. Really hard. It’s painful to admit your failings.
Know, however, that once you do this, you’re opening yourself up to growth — for your business and for yourself.
Below I’ve picked out some common weaknesses in leaders and, more importantly, I’ve suggested how we can put them right.
You’re the one responsible for the results, the one people will blame when things go wrong, and you’re counting on the people below you to help you get them. That takes a lot of trust. Not easy.
So, how can you quit with the micromanagement? You don’t want to be checking up on your employees every five minutes, asking them to CC you into every email, doing all the work yourself instead of delegating and, generally, conveying the fact you don’t trust them.
The answer is to ask for feedback from your employees. Let them provide it anonymously so they have nothing to fear by being honest. The truth will hurt, but you can’t improve if you don’t know it.
Work out what’s important, what isn’t and see which tasks you can delegate to your employees.
Offer them training opportunities to empower them within your business. Let them grow. You’ll be able to trust them more if they have extra training behind them.
Then you’ll delegate more so you can get on with the more important stuff.
Not being open-minded
This one is a real killer. Being closed-minded and stuck in your ways will cause your business to stagnate. A business must move with the times, not stay static.
Be willing to try new things. If the minute a colleague says something like, ‘Hey, I’ve got an idea about how we can….’ and you’re already dismissing it in your head before they’ve even finished the sentence, that needs to change. Listen to them – and show that you’re listening to them, by asking them questions. Ask them to investigate the idea further for you before you decide for or against the idea.
If they show an interest in another area of the business or a different project, welcome it. Don’t just pigeonhole them into their area of expertise. Offer them some training, if necessary, and a chance to show their worth. They could add flexibility to your business as well as extra value.
Self-belief is crucial when you’re a leader. When things go wrong, everyone looks to you. They need someone who’s strong. They need to believe in you. How can they do that if you don’t believe in yourself?
You’ve got to be confident in your decisions and at your meetings. Confidence is convincing.
Learn everything you can about leadership and about your business niche. Network with other business leaders and talk shop. Help others in your business to achieve.
Success and knowledge breed the confidence to make decisions, to be a person of action and, generally, to feel surer of yourself as a leader.
Don’t, however, fall into the trap of becoming so confident that you shut out the opinions of others or dismiss their ideas.
Good leaders listen to those around them and aren’t afraid to take their ideas on board if it’s the right move for their business. Don’t harm your business by not pursuing an idea just because it wasn’t yours.
Leadership — by no means an easy job, but it allows you to make a real difference.
You can make decisions that empower your employees and drive your business forward.
You can follow up new ideas to improve your business operations and innovate.
Engage in some solid learning to lead with confidence.
Identifying flaws in your leadership flaws and working on them is your big chance to grow.
If you seize that opportunity, then so will your business.