March 18, 2015
The present leadership climate advocates strength finding and ignoring your weaknesses. This is fine, but to a point. Without a sense of self-awareness, our strengths can become our greatest potential for failure.
The following is a brief excerpt from my book, The Trojan Horse of Leadership: Battling the Enemy We All Face. It lists thirteen different ways a strength can become a weakness.
Anytime you allow something to diminish your capacity to lead from your strengths, it undermines your ability to lead well, or to lead at all.
In light of this axiom, below is a list of the potential ways a strength can become a means for you to self-destruct. I call these Trojan horses.
1. With our strengths we feel okay, even untouchable. They are what give us confidence for meeting the challenges of life. They are the reason we succeed or advance to where we are.
2. Because they are a strength, our tendency is not to guard or protect them. They are the last place we would expect to be attacked. The best we do is cultivate them further, which builds a false confidence in them.
3. We tend to believe that our strengths will compensate for any weakness. But an unguarded strength is potentially more dangerous than a guarded weakness.
4. When we pray, we rarely petition God for protection against what is healthy, positive, or strong as opposed to what is negative, hurtful, or needful. Praying is a key to guarding your strengths.
5. Because they are a strength, we can tend to become arrogant and prideful with them and the abilities they give us. Therefore we don’t anticipate failure as a direct result of them.
6. We can also become careless and thoughtless, especially the more talented and gifted we are. We can lose the ability to be attentive and lose our objectivity because of an overconfidence in our abilities. Again, this leaves us open to derailment.
7. Our strengths can make us feel invincible. So much so that in times when others are sensing the warnings, we are oblivious to them.
8. We lose the ability to learn well the lessons of failure. In fact, we may become so adverse to failure that we never grow beyond the superficiality that our strengths can foster in us. Strengths in particular are best honed by the experience of failure.
9. We are the most vulnerable immediately after a victory, and more often than not, that victory has come as a result of exercising our strengths. Because of this, we are unaware of the depth of our exposure during that vulnerable time, which leaves us open to falling.
10. Our strengths can tempt us to believe that we do not need accountability, therefore isolating us from the very people or structures that would help protect us.
11. A strength outside of its context can end up becoming a weakness, because context is where a strength operates best.
12. Your greatest strengths can also be the greatest source of personal frustration. Because of this, you may exploit your strengths in ways that can be hurtful to others and harmful over all.
13. Lastly, our strengths can almost make us feel divine. The very gifts, strengths, and attributes that are divinely and gracefully given to us become the very things that cause us to deny our need for God altogether.
I hope you found this brief excerpt helpful. You can get two free chapters of my book here, or you can order your very own copy here.
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If you live in Canada, you know that there is an election right around the corner. Canadian's go to the polls on Monday, October 21st, and if anything can be said about this election is that it's been a lesson in leadership missteps. Regardless, there are two factors that determine who wins an election.