You can turn your strengths into weaknesses by overplaying them, but you can also transform your weaknesses into strengths by underplaying them. Weaknesses are often the “symptoms” of hidden unique abilities. Allow your leadership coach to help you discover your unique abilities and teach you how to underplay your weaknesses. 

Leadership coaching efforts focus on identifying leaders’ strengths and weaknesses and establishing a balance. The balance prevents weaknesses from taking over and strengths from turning into weaknesses through overuse.

Like leadership strengths, weaknesses are not etched in stone. Through focus, perseverance, and a well-structured approach, leaders can turn their weaknesses into strengths.

Using your weaknesses to power your strengths is the ultimate exercise in intelligent leadership. 

Strategies to Transform Your Weaknesses into Strengths

Understand Your Weaknesses

Some leadership coaching professionals tend not to grant too much weight to 360-degree assessments. These leadership development tools, however, are instrumental in determining your strengths and weaknesses. We are all human; we are biased, and we are often prone to cognitive dissonance. A 360-degree survey delivers an objective map of your leadership competencies.

Short of doing a 360-degree survey, you can ask your trusted peers and reports for relevant, honest feedback. An executive coach can also act as an objective-sounding board, helping you discover your weaknesses and strengths by asking relevant questions.

When you understand your weaknesses, you can accept them. Once you accept them, you can do something about them.

Reach Out for Guidance and Feedback

Giving and receiving relevant feedback is a fundamental leadership skill. The people with whom you work daily know you better than you know yourself in some regards.

Don’t hesitate to request their feedback. People you trust may do more than provide feedback. They can give you advice and guidance. They can also offer solutions you may not recognize yourself due to your biases or beliefs.

Model this feedback and guidance-seeking behavior to your reports. This way, you send the message that weaknesses aren’t something they should hide.

Surround Yourself with Mentors

Mentors and executive coaches can provide guidance where you need it the most. Mentors can give you direct advice while executive coaching builds you up little-by-little, allowing you to find your solutions and solve your problems.

On paper, recognizing your weaknesses and turning them into strengths may seem simple, but it’s not. Without the input of a mentor or coach, you may never find out what your weaknesses are, let alone address them constructively.

Hiring people with talents you don’t have also makes perfect sense. As an immediate effect, this approach helps you lessen your skill gaps. It also makes it easier to build up your skill set.

See Your Weaknesses as Part of a To-Do List 

Tackle them one at a time. Take notice of your weaknesses and compile a list of them. This to-do list allows you to regularly work on turning your weaknesses into strengths.

Develop a structured approach to handling your weaknesses. Focus on one and take the steps you deem necessary to eliminate it. Having a mentor, coach, or complementary teammate can make this task easier, speeding up your progress.

Develop a Plan

When you tackle a weakness, make a plan. Don’t approach it chaotically or without a clear idea of what you want to accomplish. Make time to study, attend a course, and have coaching sessions.

Develop a habit of being around people who are good at what you’re trying to learn. Surround yourself with personnel who round out and complement your leadership skill set.

Ask Questions

Executive and business coaching professionals don’t tell you directly how you can improve your leadership skills. They ask relevant questions and allow you to discover your own solutions by answering them. Questions can be powerful tools.

Seek and you shall find. 

As the leader of your organization, don’t feel shame when asking questions from your peers and reports. The utility of questions is far above any stigma of shame. No one expects you to be good at everything and have all the answers.

Business coaching professionals know that overplayed leadership strengths can become weaknesses. Fortunately, the opposite is also true. Underplayed weaknesses can become strengths.

Disabilities always seem to compliment a unique ability. It is up to you and your coach to discover the unique abilities behind your weaknesses. Your goal is to allow these abilities to jump to the forefront.


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