The Value of Knowing Your Strengths
Leadership starts with “know thyself.” It’s obvious when you see a great leader in action that they are comfortable in their own skin. They know who they are and what they do best. They don’t waste time and energy trying to do those things that are difficult or counterproductive; instead, they focus on developing a team that will help them reach their goals.
“Leadership starts with ‘know thyself.'”
Almost every leader I know struggles with this concept at some point. Maybe you have felt the pressure being the only one who can do the job even though you don’t like doing it. Or it’s possible that you have been frustrated with aspects of your job without really knowing why. So, how do we avoid putting ourselves in these situations as leaders? Here are a couple of key ideas to think through:
#1 Know your strengths
The first step you must take down this path is to know what your strengths are. A surprising number of people in leadership positions have very little knowledge about their strengths. Our society has programmed us to focus on improving our weaknesses instead of developing our strengths. This leads to a dangerous position. What usually happens to leaders who do a good job is that they are quickly given more responsibility. This can be great if that new responsibility aligns with your strengths. It can be devastating, however, when those new responsibilities are not in sync with your giftedness. A leader in that position has very little chance of success. By knowing your strengths you can say “yes” to leadership responsibilities that will grow you and help you become a better leader.
#2 Know how to help others discover their strengths
The best way to delegate is to empower. We can empower our followers by helping them discover the strengths and talents they have. This discovery process will help them find a role in your ministry or organization that will be fulfilling and rewarding for them. In doing so, you’re likely to recruit teammates who will be with you for the long haul. It will also free you from doing things that don’t fit you while encouraging others to find places that do fit them.
Start by making a list of all the staff and volunteers that you oversee. Think about each one for a couple of minutes. What jobs do they naturally gravitate toward? What is their personality like? Are they organized, relational, intellectual, creative, etc? What tasks seem to make them the most excited and energized? The answers to these questions will help you determine what strengths your volunteers possess. It’s also a good idea to talk this topic over with your team members. Help them to understand what strengths are and how to start to identify them in their own lives.
Once you have a good idea about your strengths and the strengths of your volunteers it’s time to start dividing up the responsibilities. This is the environment that will allow your team to work at its peak efficiency. Both you and your team will be more energized and fulfilled as everyone contributes from his or her area of strength. You will also know who you need to recruit to fill key roles that everyone on the team can do well. Knowing your strengths and the strengths of those around you will help you avoid the frustrations of failed delegation.
About the Author
Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners who never leave their side. Doug grew up in […]