Leadership Matters: Enhance strengths or improve weaknesses?

Increasing self-clarity allows us to see our current palette of skills as a starting point for growth.

Every human has four endowments; self-awareness, conscience, independent will, and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom. . . the power to choose, to respond, to change.” – Steven Covey

The dualistic strengths-versus-weaknesses perspective so common in professional development is a helpful starting point in the conversation on developing leadership skills. However, this focus on weakness can also be limiting and leave us with a fixed, narrow view of what a successful leader looks like, of ourselves as leaders, even of what leadership is or is not.

This limited mindset does not allow for leaders to change and grow as individuals, nor does it allow for adaptation into new roles within the trajectory of a developing career.

Other philosophies propose that we can access more of our latent leadership potential when we concentrate our efforts on our areas of perceived strength rather than investing energy into “correcting” areas of “deficiency” (a.k.a. “areas of opportunity.”)  While this approach can be effective, it does not necessarily encourage us to identify and stretch into areas that hold the greatest potential for personal development or our growth as leaders simply for the sake of growth.


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