For leaders who have the knowledge and ability necessary to meet the work at hand, “playing to your strengths” might bring success…or not.
If you have the knowledge and abilities necessary to execute the work at hand, “trying to play to your talents” may bring success in some professions. It will not, however, always result in successful leadership. Leaders must have a strong desire to learn and develop. Consequently, they must model this ambition to inspire their teams to do just that. Once you realize this, the idea of a leader who solely plays to their strengths becomes oxymoronic. Leaders cannot afford to be inefficient.
1. Create a learning environment.
You’re unlikely to learn and develop if you merely remain in your comfort zone. Worse, you’re teaching your staff to do the same thing.
Instead, seek to create a learning organization and be its poster child. Make it alright not to know how to do anything properly, take chances, seek criticism, and ask for assistance and ideas. Therefore, your employees will be more motivated by you, which is counter-intuitive.
2. Be proactive in developing your strengths.
Personal talents are created, polished, and earned through time, with many advantages. However, they may also become disadvantages if you get into the habit of using them to solve every issue that arises.
Good advice is to work on your talents ahead of time so that you may become a thinking and creative actor rather than a passive receiver.
3. Leverage other people’s strengths.
Leaders who overuse strengths may turn it into a flaw. You can play to the strengths of others as a leader. Not every circumstance will need your abilities.
Recognize the qualities that individuals on the team possess and put them to good use for the team. Remember that as a leader, you will not always be able to “play to your strengths.” Certainly, make use of other people’s strengths.
4. Be conscious of other people’s needs.
Every strength has the potential to become a de-railer if it is misused. Make the most of your abilities while keeping others’ needs in mind.
Communication, for example, might be so warm and welcoming that the receiver misses the message hidden underneath. Or on the other hand, leaders might be so inventive and creative that they lose sight of or fail to express priorities.
5. Recognize and address your blind spots.
Like everything else in life, leadership is about striking the right balance. If you play to your strengths, you’ll develop a fixed attitude, and your ego will take over.
No one wants to be led by someone just interested in themselves. In consequence, you trigger a development mentality by being aware of one’s blind spots.
Knowing and expressing your flaws makes you vulnerable. And who doesn’t want to work for someone who is humble?
6. De-emphasize it and provide opportunities for others to learn.
Every strength has a limit and overusing it beyond that point may restrict or harm the team as a whole.
Therefore, using your power as a leader is a terrific idea. But the key is to be mindful of how others perceive it. Toning down a personal leadership strength might allow others to teach and learn.
7. Make use of the organization’s collective strengths.
Instead of confining the organization to the leader’s abilities, a leader may succeed by using the group’s overall talents.
A sports team will struggle if its members have the same abilities and weaknesses. For example, if everyone could leap high, but no one could sprint fast.
Instead, the most productive teams have a well-balanced mix of complementary skills among their members.
8. Improve your ability to adapt and change your style.
Playing to your strengths may have brought you to where you are now. However, you may require other leadership skills in the future.
For senior managers with one eye on the next rung of the ladder, the ability to bend and adjust your approach is critical. Let’s refer to this as “leadership agility.” Leaders analyze the circumstance and then “dial-up” the most appropriate strength to succeed.
9. Recognize your flaws and work to overcome them.
Recognizing and working on flaws is essential for being a strong leader.
You may achieve short-term success by solely playing to your strengths. But you will hamper team development if you as a leader do not venture outside of your comfort zone to push yourself.
Therefore, take on complex challenges and figure out how to conquer them to improve your leadership abilities.
10. Spend more time listening and allowing others to speak.
A superb speaker is a plus that a leader could consider deploying often.
On the other hand, a leader improves as a result of listening more and enabling others to speak more. Only if the leader is more thoughtful, self-aware, and improves their emotional intelligence can this happen.