Einstein famously made the expression to remind us that we can be great in our own way if we understand our strengths. It is often easy to be fixated on overcoming one’s weaknesses and easily ignore building up one’s strengths. In fact, focusing too much on correcting your weaknesses may actually hinder you from becoming what you can be great at. The four rules of thumb to guide you to enhance your strengths: (1) accept your weaknesses; (2) recognize your specific strengths; (3) solve the right problem; and (4) double down on your strengths.
All of us — individuals, teams, and organizations — have weaknesses. These are weaknesses that are inherent deficiencies of capability that do not change even after aggressive efforts to improve them. As an individual, or as an enterprise, knowing the specific nature of your strengths is incredibly important. Because if you don’t know your specific strength, you can’t develop it to full advantage. Also, consider whether the problem you are trying to solve is the right one to address, especially if it is a problem other people have diagnosed for you. Ultimately, strengths and weaknesses are often mirrors of each other; and once you recognize your strength, you can accentuate it through discipline and training.
In reality, most leaders do not have the luxury of building up a new team from scratch. Instead they are put in charge of an existing team, which could be the one that created the situation that the leaders needed to fix. When replacing members in the short term is not an option, they should broadly speaking assess, reshape and accelerate team development.
The new manager should quickly size up the dynamics of the team that is inherited, gathering information from preferably one-on-one chats, team meetings, and stakeholders. At the same time, reflect on the business challenges facing the firm, and the kinds of people needed in various roles, and the degree to which they collaborate.
Having that understanding, adjust the composition of the team by moving people to new positions where there is a better fit, redefining their job scope or responsibilities, or replacing them as a last resort. Ensure that everyone’s goals and incentives are aligned by changing the team’s direction if necessary. Also think about how changes can be made to the way the team operates (e.g. creating new sub-teams, frequency of meetings or running meetings differently to focus on strategic or operational issues) to improve team performance. Further, establishing ground rules and processes to sustain desired behaviors or eliminate destructive behaviors, and revisit those periodically especially when there is a change in membership.
Above all, set the team up for early wins. With the initial successes, they will boost everyone’s confidence and reinforce the value of the new operating model, paving the way for ongoing growth.
Source: Havard Business Review
Lovers of the bard’s plays are often mesmerised by how the character develops as the play goes on. Consider this: If a character merely unfolds along with the plot, we already know all there is to know about them when they appear. They illuminate little because they cannot surprise us the audience. In Shakespeare, powerful character change comes about as a result of the antagonists moving toward – rather than away from – the anxieties that external challenges impose on their internal worlds. In a leadership context, Shakespearean plays have shown us that self-awareness is useful to a leader when it is revelatory. And it can only be revelatory when one is willing to concede that one knows himself or herself only partially, that is leadership is a ‘work-in-progress’. In this sense, leadership development is less about learning new skills than about discovering ourselves anew by giving something up, including cherished notions of the person who we think we are, in order to discover the better leader we could become.
Source: Havard Business Review