Supervisory Leadership

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Strengths and Weaknesses

We all have them both: strengths and weaknesses. Your team and career success depend on how you handle them.

Let's start with strengths. What do you do naturally and well?

The best road to your success is building on those strengths. Find ways to do more of the things you do well. Spend your development time and dollars on getting even better.

That's good advice that you can get from lots of people, like Marcus Buckingham. Discover your strengths and build on them. What about your weaknesses?

The common answer is to eliminate weaknesses through training and development. But that strategy takes time and energy that you could devote to building on your strengths. I suggest a different strategy.

Do what you can to make your weaknesses irrelevant. Eliminating them would do that, but at great cost. Here are some ways to make your weaknesses irrelevant, short of full scale elimination.

Get good enough. One way to get good at something is to develop a process for it. A friend of mine is a great manager, but a poor report writer. She developed a report writing process that helps her turn out reports that are good enough to satisfy her boss.

Get help from people and software. Most small business owners don't need to be great bookkeepers. All they need to do is use software to prepare records to give to their accountant.

Be sure to check about whether your weakness matters. Ask if the things you do poorly even need to be done. You'd be surprised how often the answer is, "No."

Use the same strategies with members of your team. Build on their strengths. Make their weaknesses irrelevant. It's a proven pathway to success.


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Helpful Resources

Peter Drucker outlined a strategy like the above many years ago in his book, "The Effective Executive." This book should be in your library. I consider this the best management book ever.

"Now, Discover Your Strengths" by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton has a lot to say about discovering and building on strengths, but doesn't talk much about weaknesses. Purchasing the book gives you a password that allows access to a web site with an excellent Strengths Finder instrument.


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