As a leader you have strengths that I'm sure serve you well. It's important to know what those strengths are, and that's why I encourage my clients to identify their five top strengths. I also believe that claiming your strengths makes it easier to claim what you need to improve.
These areas of improvement are your weaknesses, although I often call them areas of opportunity since some people struggle with the "W" word. Everyone has weaknesses of some sort, but not all of them impact your work. I can't hit a golf ball worth a darn, but that's not a skill that's usually required of a consultant/speaker.
It's vital to identify your weaknesses. Taking a hard look at where you fall short is not easy, but it allows you to increase your awareness and, if you address what you've learned, improve what needs to be improved.
It's easy to identify things you're not good at, such as visual presentation, but that's not the kind of thing that gets in a leader's way. Those are the flaws that are easily fixable by taking a class or an online program.
The weaknesses or shortcomings that I'm talking about are more personal. The more personal the weakness the more likely it is to negatively affect the staff and, potentially, results. What I'm talking about can be anything from anger management issues to avoiding conflict to talking too much to not getting things done.
What differentiates great leaders from the rest is how they address these personal weaknesses. Since they are personal, it means you have the power to change and evolve. That's why we encourage clients to set what we call personal quality goals.
A personal quality goal is a way to take a personal weakness and turn it into a positive ACTION. The act of creating and sharing personal quality goals helps you be proactive in displaying the right behaviors and actions, instead of allowing those shortcomings to exert a negative effect on those around you.
Let me share some examples of how a particular weakness can be turned into a personal quality goal.
* A leader who struggles to take the time to recognize his/her team's performance can set a personal quality goal of recognizing two people a day.
* A leader who hates confrontation can create a personal quality goal of addressing any issue that arises on the same day, unless to do so would hurt the other person.
* A leader who procrastinates about paperwork can have a personal quality goal of completing all paperwork within 48-hours.
* A leader who loses his/her temper can set a personal quality goal of never raising his/her voice to someone. And if it does happen, he/she has another personal quality goal of apologizing to the individual that same day.
* A leader who blames outside forces for problems can have a personal quality goal of always stating first what he/she did and did not do to achieve the goal.
* A leader who talks too much, or dominates conversations, can set a personal quality goal of asking more questions and listening more.
The key to successfully using personal quality goals is to share them with someone you trust, and who can help you stick to them. It can be a mentor, colleague, manager, coach, and even one of your employees. It just has to be someone who will call you out if need be, and someone you can rat yourself out to if you fall short when the other person isn't around.
So let me ask, what personal quality goal will make a big difference in your leadership and development in 2017?
Doug Fleener, the former director of retail for Bose Corporation, is a speaker and consultant known for bring fresh approaches and powerful actionable ideas to clients and audiences around the world. Learn more at DougFleener.com.