I recently participated in a small team discussion about leadership. Now there’s a loaded word, especially when you start examining your own strengths and challenges. I think leadership is one of those nebulous terms we throw around a lot. We also tend to haphazardly add adjectives in front of it – good, weak, thoughtful, inspired. And we seem to spend a lot of time talking about leadership. A LOT of time in my world. But that said, I don’t necessarily remember the last time I did a self-assessment of my own strengths and challenges.
It’s easy to spot what we like in others and gossip about what we don’t. But turning the question on ourselves can be a bit daunting and I found I struggled with the questions – both on the strengths and challenges side. But through that struggle, I found the exercise valuable. It helped me understand what unique qualities I bring to the table and where I have a desire to behave differently. In the interest of helping you take a look at your own list, I thought I’d share mine. And I’d love to hear what you think makes you a strong leader, as well as areas you’d like to develop. Lead on, my friends!
- I am confident in my own beliefs and opinions and I’m willing to share them. I think that’s a huge part of leadership.
- I ask questions. I ask for clarification. I ask to ensure I understand. I ask to identify underlying feelings. I want to make sure I thoroughly understand what’s going on before I move ahead, whether in the conversation or with an action.
- I like connecting with people and helping them feel heard. Being heard is a powerful feeling and limitless things can come from that space shared between people.
- When something doesn’t go as expected, I first look to what I could have done differently. That helps me clarify what I expect and want moving forward. It also keeps me from starting with blame for others.
- I believe life is more fun when you’re positive, and that goes for work and play. I work to see the positive and not be so focused on the negative.
- I believe there is always something that can be done – there are always more options.
- Delegating and sharing responsibility can be hard for me. Trusting that others are invested at a level that makes me comfortable is tough.
- I have high expectations and I can take it personally when those expectations aren’t met. I think these high expectations can sometimes come off as high maintenance, which can be a challenge for me (I wrote a whole blog post on this one!).
- I can get stuck in the details of something and get so focused on making it work that I can miss an easier and better solution because I’m too far down the path with the first option.
- I can sometimes worry too much about how other people feel. It doesn’t always prevent me from taking action, but it can cause me to struggle in moving forward to letting something go.
- I believe there is always something that can be done – there are always more options (yes, you read that right – I consider this both a strength and a challenge since it can sometimes drive me crazy).