4 Weaknesses You Should Know
Weaknesses are not strengths, but it’s a strength to know them. One of my first mentors told me that the greatest strength you can have as a leader is to know your weaknesses. This is scary stuff, because it relates to sides of ourselves that we are maybe ashamed of, and want to hide or change.
You’re probably also better defined as a human being by your weaknesses than by your strengths. ‘Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,’ begins Leo Tolstoy in his classic Anna Karenina.
In the same way, I assume most good accountants, for example, are probably good at what they do in the same way. They are mainly good at accounting. What separates them, and makes them human, is how they are weak in different ways.
There are different forms of weaknesses, for example:
1. Something that you want: you would kill for love, for example, or you need drugs
2. Something that you’re afraid of losing: your children, your job, your money
3. Something that you are hiding: you’re cheating on your partner, or you’re stealing
4. Something that you lack: you don’t have a degree, you don’t have money
The main point here is not how to practically deal with your weak- nesses, even though that could probably be a good idea, but to know them. Understanding your weaknesses is probably one of the greatest strengths you can have as a leader. It’s better that you’re aware of these weaknesses, can admit them and can deal with them proactively, than for the people around you to uncover them first. Sure, it’s good to find out your weaknesses through honest and constructive feedback (unless you don’t already know about them), but it can be bad if it happens by accident.
How you manage your weakness is a matter of personal preference and the nature of the weakness. The proactive pattern is always the same: 1) know and admit it, 2) deal with it. If your weakness is drugs or stealing, you should probably seek help. If your weakness is just a generally unhealthy lifestyle, you could maybe change on your own by applying better discipline and going to the gym. If your weakness is just good wine, it might not matter at all. You can choose to do nothing and live with it, but ask yourself to what extent your weakness might hurt yourself and others.
Your capacity to build yourself and others is based on the strengths, but what makes you great is to understand the ways in which you are weak and can improve. Your weaknesses and obstacles can also be turned into advantages and strengths if you have the ability to see it that way.