One of my first yoga teachers was fond of saying, “too much strength makes you inflexible too much flexibility makes you weak always balance.”
At work, the same is true.
Strength can make us weaker.
Over-reliance on one skill
I love to speak– with energy and enthusiasm. This comes naturally to me
But if I am not careful, that energy can become overwhelming “is she for real, who gets that excited over this stuff?”
Since I heard that comment (which ticked me off), I tone it down (occasionally).
I have also been watching for signs of over-used skills around me to see if I can help. The number 1 over-used skill has been relationship building. I have watched folks who are fantastic at building relationships and consensus, lose credibility when that becomes too much of their focus.
When leaders over-use this strength, they can lose sight of the real work that needs to be done. Or even worse, surrender their own instincts or opinion in the spirit of consensus and relationships.
Thinking You Have It “Handled”
Another way a weakness can become a strength, is a feeling that you’ve got that skill handled, and don’t need to work on it. Can you ever be too good at public speaking, strategy, or finance? So often I see development plans focused on a person’s weaknesses, overlooking on how they can build on their natural gifts.
Over-reliance on the strength of your team
As a leader it is absolutely vital to build our teams to complement and supplement our weaknesses. That is a strength of a great leader. The challenge is that over-relying on that strength can also make us weak, not investing at becoming stronger ourselves in those arenas.
An exercise that can help
- Make a list of your greatest strengths (as an individual or as a team)
- Next, brainstorm how each of these strengths helps you perform as a leader (or as a team)
- Then, take that same list and do an honest assessment of where this strength is getting you into trouble
- Identify some key actions to get a more balanced reliance on that skill
What strengths are you over-using?