Editor’s Note: We are honored today to feature a guest post from a very gifted writer and blogger, Anthony Gitonga. Anthony is the CEO of LEAD Consulting, a Nairobi-based firm committed to training others in leadership and personal development.
We add most value to our organisations when we lead in the sphere of our strengths.
While the strength–based development movement has been gaining momentum, many leaders still test the waters with the tips of their feet. There are several reasons for their reluctance. Following are the five reasons I deem most limiting.
Perception: When leaders care so much about perception, they strive to portray an all–rounded image. Our constituents know our shortcomings and needless therefore follow this limiting fallacy. Leaders lead teams of people with different strengths. They ought to understand that teams are all–rounded precisely because the leaders as well as its members are not.
Power play: The perception obsession leads to dangerous power play games. Needing recognition as experts in every field, these leaders begin to exert authority on matters they possess little or no expertise. Seen as the ploy to usurp power, the professionals lay their tools down, and allow the ‘expert’ leaders to have their way. The results are always disastrous to both the leader and the organisation.
Precautions: Driven by the need to come across as perfect, leaders conceal their weaknesses at all costs. They guard their turf highly, lunge defensively out of their shells to painfully sting at every criticism. Insecurity becomes their undoing. Hardly can they imagine sorely focussing on their strengths, because they fear anyone around them whose strengths fall in the sphere of their weakness.
Presumption: They presume that the activities that weaken them will also weaken anyone they delegate to. They adopt the antiquated management school of thought that wrongly admonishes to delegate what they like, and keep what they loathe. The converse is true. Leaders should never take a guilt trip by delegating what doesn’t make them tick.
Perfectionism: Far too many leaders believe in the old adage, “If you want it done right do it yourself.” Considering themselves better than others, they decline to delegate. Nobody, however strong, can lead apart from others.
What holds you from practicing strength based development? Whatever it is you will make huge strides in organisational leadership if you overcome the reluctance to play to your strengths and manage your weaknesses.
Remember as Frances Hesselbein once noted, “Organisations exist to make people’s strengths effective and their weaknesses irrelevant. And this is the work of effective leaders.”
Anthony Gitonga is a leadership author, speaker, and coach. A popular blogger and keynote conference speaker, Anthony specialises on the subject of personal and leadership development. Anthony can be contacted directly via Twitter @AnthonyGitonga, email firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting his home page at www.anthonygitonga.com.