How to Spot Your Leadership Blind Spots and What to Do About Them
Everyone’s got a weakness. Or two. And if you think you haven’t, you definitely do!
The key is knowing how to identify them, and then, what to do with them.
Get comfortable with seeing weaknesses as opportunities
Nobody’s perfect. Become comfortable with the concept of having ‘development’ opportunities. Everyone has them – and there’s two bridge points in your career that will really bring them all to the fore – the move from being a specialist to being a manager, and then from a manager to an executive. You need to be ahead of the challenges that will face you as a leader progressing through your career by understanding the development areas you need to be on top of, in order to facilitate your progression.
Seek an objective opinion
Your line manager may have had honest conversations with you about development points – but more than likely if you’re a high performer generally, your weaknesses may never get discussed. No need – you’re doing well. Seeking some objective counsel may be the next step – perhaps from an ex-manager or superior that has an invested interest in you doing well in your career. Before you do this, prepare yourself to have an honest conversation. If someone says you could be more assertive – don’t take it personally, take it as a pointer to what you need to develop – skills in influencing, persuasion and standing your ground.
Train and check yourself
Once you’ve identified a couple of development areas, design yourself a plan. Talk to your line manager about how they can help you to build skills in this area – volunteering for some out of remit duties, or taking an available training course. You could ask if it is something they could build into your normal performance appraisal process. Look at what you can do yourself – simple things like doing one task a week that will require you to use that skill could make all the difference. For instance, if it’s becoming more comfortable in speaking up, task yourself to create and contribute a meaningful idea at the next management meeting.
Don’t neglect your strengths
Finally, don’t forget what you’re good at. Not only do your strengths need developing too, you need to keep reminding yourself of where your value is. If you know you’re really good at working with IT on systems issues and there’s a new project coming up – go for it. Keep cataloguing those wins – it’ll help you push through those more difficult development points.
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