We recently held our Mid-Year Leadership Meeting. To start the meeting I asked everyone to state their single greatest leadership strength. What was eye-opening is that many people said it was something that they had to think about.
Most of us can quickly name all the things we don’t like about ourselves. And we’ve probably also gotten feedback on “areas for improvement”, which can sometimes be hard to digest and make us want to improve our deficits. What tends to happen is we take a class or spend valuable energy working on overcoming our weaknesses instead of playing to our strengths.
What would happen if we reversed that pattern?
Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology says that for us to be truly happy and live a meaningful life, we must recognize our personal strengths and use these strengths for the greater good. I agree!
We all have strengths and we all have weaknesses. And every one of us has spent time trying to succeed in areas that aren’t natural for us. Sometimes we don’t realize how hard we are trying and how difficult it’s been until we give ourselves permission to let go and focus on our strengths and pursue our innate passions.
When we work on strengthening our strengths, we no longer feel like we are paddling upstream. Everything is easier and more natural. Even if we need to become more proficient in our areas of strength, we can do so without the anxiety and self-doubt that comes with struggling to learn what feels unnatural or impossibly difficult. Just coping with the negative emotions of this weakens us and sabotages our self-esteem and holds us back from finding our passion.
It is important that we are aware of our individual personal strengths as well as the strengths of our teams, our regions, our departments and our companies. Then we must focus on those strengths to make ourselves the best we can be. Maximize our strength and forge forward with great confidence.
I have often used the phrase Lead by Example. Going forward, I am modifying that phrase to Lead from Within. If we want to improve our leadership, our performance and the performance of our companies and our teams, we must learn our strengths and align ourselves with them. To quote Robert Henri – “Do whatever you do intensely”.
What is your strength?
As always I look forward to hearing from you!
Kim Corwin is President and Chief Executive Officer of A.H. Harris, a construction supplies firm in West Hartford, Conn. She can be reached at Kim.Corwin@ahharris.com. To subscribe to the A.H. Harris newsletter Concrete Evidence, click here.