Great leaders are not successful simply because they are in the right place at the right time. They succeed because they play to their strengths, and they work hard at maximising them. Effective leaders are very conscious of their strengths and know how to deploy them for their own advantage and for the benefit of their Organisation. This mean that they can repeat their performance as a leader in any new role they find themselves in or different organisation they work for.
However, all leaders also have weaknesses. These weaknesses can inhibit a leaders’ success or in extreme cases they can be their downfall, if they are not aware of them. For example, there are a number of factors that can derail a leader and can interfere with their ability to gain the engagement and commitment from their people, such as
- Being able to see the ‘big picture’ but unable to follow through on the details of a plan.
- A lack of understanding the impact that their behaviour has on other people.
- Not listen to their staff properly, failing to empathise or communicate enough.
- Not delegating enough – believing tht the best person to do the job is themselves.
- Claiming that people are the organisation’s most important asset, but not giving enough time for their people.
- Failing to challenge their managers and staff to improve their performance.
- Not monitoring performance appropriately or failing to enough to provide the necessary training and development
- Not acting with sensitivity or discretion.
- Being rude, aggressive or over critical with their people.
It is helpful for leaders to recognise these factors and work to minimise the impact of them. Great leaders are very self aware and understand their flaws and engage people to work along side them who can balance their ‘weaknesses’. For example, a charismatic Chief Executive may be an excellent visionary but may need a solid Operations or Finance Director to keep control of the detailed operational activities and finances.
Ultimately it is up to the leader to recognise and manage their weaknesses effectively – if they don’t then the impact of these ‘flaws’ may increase and eventually derail them.