What’s your achilles heel?

Posted January 7, 2009 in Communication, Latest News & Insights

I think a lot about how our strengths create our greatest weaknesses.  It’s fascinating to me that what makes you fabulous in one aspect of your leadership also creates your fatal “Achilles Heel” in another area.

The first time I did a dreaded 360 assessment test I was confronted with the clear message that my fabulous ability to be innovative and be a “big picture” thinker, also made me a nightmare for administrative people to support because – although I can be good at details – I HATE lots of detail work and over structuring things.  Fascinating.  I finally understood why my support people were driving me crazy… and it was all my fault!  I wasn’t giving them the information THEY needed!  Always fun when you realize it’s your behaviour that’s the problem.

In my executive coaching experience, most of my “fix it” clients were people who’s over leveraged strengths had become extreme liabilities and were causing their careers to derail.

So my challenge to you, dear reader, is to look at your personal strengths.  Those things about YOUR approach to leadership that you take extreme pride in.  Are you the “big idea” guy? Are you the girl who “calls it like she sees it”? Are you the ultimate quality control person?

Whatever your “big spike” leadership talent is… I GUARANTEE you there is a liability following right behind you.  Be aware of it, explore it… and figure out how to minimize it (you don’t want to get rid of it… after all, that would water down your great talent).  But do explore how you can manage it.  Solicit help and ideas from those around you to help you get clear on what strategies you can use.

There’s no such thing as the “perfect” leader.  Everyone has an Achilles Heel… but we can protect ourselves by pulling on a pair of tough leather boots to keep the arrows away and our careers on track.

Happy leading!


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  1. KSD says:

    I’m definitely the one that calls it as I see it, and you’re absolutely right that it’s a blessing and a curse…

    My colleagues LOVE me…upper management, sometimes they can do without me, so while I’ll never stop being that person, I am learning how to tone it done, tread a little lighter at times and be a touch more selective of when I start elephant hunting…

    • glain says:

      I hear you… I think sometimes we get caught up in what our own “persona” is, and don’t step out of ourselves to see how the behaviour is hitting other people. One of our Mentors said to me the other day that she got to the point that she was “so self-actualized, I was self-centred”. Isn’t that a great insight!

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