Thursday, 29 October 2015

It starts with courage!

You sit alone; your mind is not on anything specific; in fact, the silence is almost overwhelming because your life is so full of activity.

You close your eyes and open your mind to the possibilities that lay before you.  And then, without warning, the question comes?

Would you work for yourself? 

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses; aware of your shortcomings and tendencies; acknowledging your moods;  your ambitions et al.  Would you work for you?
Before you dismiss the question out of hand, take a sip of truth serum and let it play out.  Then, with pen in hand, write out the pro's and con's that come to mind.  Nothing is too trivial to record.  Remember, no one can answer this as honestly and as comprehensively as you can!  Allow your mind to search all those back alleys; closed doors; and hidden spaces.  Recall your successes, your failures, your personal wish list.

If you are brave enough, ask a confidante to honestly critique your evaluations.  You want to ensure that you have been neither too harsh nor too glowing in your assessment.  Then, once you have settled on an accurate assessment, answer the question.

Would YOU work for YOU?

Candidly, the answer does not matter.  The issue is not 'yes' or 'no' but rather one of greater significance.  What you have is a point of reference that indicates what you need to do to become a better person, and by extension, a better leader.

Assuming that you have been honest, you can evaluate if the strengths you record are actually the ones that you believe are the best to achieve your personal objectives.  Are these foundational strengths that will uphold you regardless of circumstance. Are they sufficient while you add to them?  You may have identified skills; they may be  characteristics.  Regardless, are they sufficient or simply building blocks.

Likewise, are your shortcomings grievous or something that can be forgiven when you assert to change them.  They may not be a hindrance to you now - at least in your opinion.  But if you have identified them then you have acknowledged an issue that can be improved and in so doing you may turn a weakness into a strength.

Clearly this is a difficult inventory to take.  The leader who truly wants to improve will appreciate that this is always a dynamic list and activity.  As we build strengths, especially as we move a weakness to a strength, we become more effective.  Often this allows us to uncover other weaknesses as we build the courage and resolve to clean out all the closets.

Great leaders are great strategists.  They are constantly assessing the strengths of their team and looking for vulnerabilities in the competition.  Why would you not be doing the same assessment on yourself if you truly desire to move from good to great and from great to outstanding. 

Your impact as a leader will not improve until...and do!


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