Generally, I don’t recommend that people focus on their weaknesses. Focusing on improving your strengths allows you to maximize your God-given abilities; however, there are exceptions to this rule. There are a set of particular weaknesses that can derail your ministry and hinder your influence with others if you do not give them adequate attention.
If we always focus on our weaknesses instead of our strengths, we greatly limit what we’re capable of accomplishing. I imagine you’ve heard that said before, and, generally, it is an important rule to follow. However, if we don’t give enough attention to our weaknesses, there’s a great possibility that those weaknesses will undermine the influence we have with others.
Let me give you an example. I naturally struggle with showing compassion. Even though I’m a pastor and do a great deal of counseling and coaching, I struggle to lead in a warm, caring, and sensitive way if I’m not intentional with how I present myself. This is especially true when I’m tired or overly stressed. If I don’t work to improve this area in my life at least a little, I am likely to come across as harsh to people. I can easily hurt someone’s feelings while struggling to empathize with those I lead. Obviously, this would negatively impact my influence with the people I serve.
Lacking compassion is a weakness that can derail my leadership if I let it. Therefore, it’s imperative that I work hard to exhibit Christ-generated compassion when I meet and interact with people. To help me grow in this area, I usually start every day with prayer and devotion. I also make sure that I have enough energy to ignore my natural instincts so that I can show compassion when it’s needed.
Lacking compassion is one personal example of a weakness; there are actually quite a few weaknesses that can derail a person’s leadership if those weaknesses are extreme. Though there’s no way to name all weaknesses here, let me give you a few examples of the issues that can hinder effective leadership. There are ten weaknesses that are important to address.
1. Lacking compassion
We’ve already discussed how this weakness can affect successful leadership. Having compassion is important to leading effectively.
2. Having low emotional intelligence
This is an important weakness to address. The less you’re aware of yourself, the less you can regulate how you interact with others, and the less influence you have with the people you lead.
In today’s world, emotional intelligence is not optional if you want to lead well and grow an organization. Lack of emotional intelligence is not easy to overcome; it takes time and much personal growth to increase your emotional intelligence. Of course, good counselors and executive coaches can also help you grow in this area in a much quicker way than trying to do it on your own.
3. Having no vision or direction
Not everyone is gifted in establishing creative vision. If you do not excel in this area, it’s important to your organization that you recruit someone on your team to help. There’s likely someone around you that can help you brainstorm a positive vision and establish direction for your organization. It’s a false belief that all vision has to be created by the leader himself. I encourage you to gather people around you who can help you create productive vision; then, work hard to communicate that vision and stand behind it.
4. Settling for mediocrity
You don’t have to be perfect in everything you do; perfectionism is a killer of progress. However, if the product or the service that your organization produces is not excellent, I challenge you to raise your level of expectation. People want to follow leaders that love excellence.
We’ve discussed four weaknesses so far; we have six more to consider. Perhaps you are now starting to evaluate how you can overcome your own weaknesses. Most of the work in overcoming these issues involve going against your natural instincts as well as allowing the people who are gifted in the areas that you are not to help you. You do not have to be perfect in the areas that you struggle in. You simply need to make sure those areas aren't so weak that they harm your influence with the people you lead.
The following six weaknesses can also derail your leadership.
5. Not regularly developing yourself and others
6. Neglecting to delegate people’s strengths
7. Distrusting people who have proven to be trustworthy
8. Remaining unsociable at important times, even if you’re an introvert
9. Being too impulsive and regularly breaking the rules
10. Refusing to create a culture of acceptance on your team
These are ten of the greatest weaknesses that can derail your influence. Having these issues can easily frustrate your success as a leader if you don’t seek to improve the areas in which you struggle. I encourage you to go back and review these ten weaknesses and evaluate your own limitations.
In closing, I want you to reflect on these two questions:
1. Which one of these weaknesses do you struggle with the most?
2. What's one thing you can do this week to help you improve as you work to develop your influence and overcome your weaknesses?
Don't try to do too much; start by doing one thing that develops an area of your life where you lack. It’s incredibly important to not make excuses with your personal areas of weaknesses. Work to shift your perspective and ignore your natural inclinations, use other people in your life to help you improve, and work to develop yourself in the area where you are the weakest. Doing these things will help you avoid derailing or damaging your influence with the people you lead.
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