This question came up in a leadership discussion this week. It sounded something like: “I’m on board with the idea of leadership ability being the lid that prevents me from greater success. I want to know where should I focus my efforts in order to raise my lid.”
This post is my personal answer to this question.
There are 3 actions that have helped me the most.
Discover your strengths
Gallup defines a strength as “the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance in a specific activity.“
How did I discover my strengths?
- I looked for the things people were unconsciously relying on me to do?
- I identified activities/behaviors I could improve upon with ease?
- I took different self-assessment tests like Gallup’s Strengthsfinder or Social Styles.
- I noticed which tasks were intuitive to me?
Keep in mind a strength may be something we are bad at today. No one is great in the beginning. It’s about potential. Some strengths don’t show up until we start growing and trying different things.
Focus on your strengths
This is not new, I’m simply validating what has been said. I believe in this statement for different reasons:
- I get better faster in my areas of strengths.
- My strengths make me unique.
- Someone else can complement my weaknesses.
- Strengths help me choose what environment and team is best for me.
In short, I have gained more from developing my strengths.
How did I develop my strengths? This is where action 3 comes into play.
Master the learner attitude
I use a quote on humility to explain this concept: “humble is a person who is looking to learn even though she knows it all.”
A learner attitude is all about humility. The humility to:
- Use purposeful and intentional practice to improve our talents.
- Ask others to fill in the gaps caused by our weaknesses.
- Listen to others’ opinions of our actions and performance.
- Set aside our solutions for the benefit of understanding the other person’s perspective.
- Accept that others can do many things better than we do.
- State our flaws and ask for help.
A learner attitude is what allows us to gain insights about ourselves, our environment, and others. Which in turn, sets the stage for us to figure out how can we best add value to others.
Let me know what you think, share your ideas, or send your questions in the comments below.