hacking leadership

Should you play to your strengths or shore-up your weaknesses?

If you pose this question to a group of professionals some will answer play to your strengths, some will answer shore-up weaknesses and others will answer both.

The truth is that they are all correct to a degree.

The real answer lies in understanding context, environment and priority of the situation to which the question is being posed.

Continued professional growth, leading to increased performance over time, is what separates the good from the great. Rapidly evolving markets demand that successful business people have fluidity in their approach to professional development. However many executives and entrepreneurs focus on the wrong areas, at the wrong times, and for the wrong reasons in their efforts to refine and improve their skill sets. In today’s post I’ll share insights on how to prioritize your professional development efforts.

Focus needs to be applied to areas that can have the greatest impact on your performance. It is nothing short of foolishness to waste time, energy or capital on improving weaknesses that don’t matter.

Unless a weakness creates a barrier between you and the completion of your mission, adversely impacts relationships, or impedes you from utilizing your strengths, it is not really a weakness that needs to be addressed.

As an example, if you are a leader with poor interpersonal communication skills which prohibit you from being able to articulately and persuasively sell the corporate vision, you should immediately go to work on improving your communication.

By way of contrast, if you’re a leader who has poor administrative skills, who cares? It is likely that as leader, you have unfettered access to administrative support to which you can delegate activities that are not highest and best use to begin with, so why worry about how fast you keyboard, filing nomenclature, naming conventions or how to work the scanner?

It is critical that you understand it takes much more dedication, determination and energy to go from poor to mediocre than it does to move from good to great. 

It is also important to check your motivation and interest level in determining which areas you desire to improve upon. If you’re not passionate about something it is difficult to be motivated, and without motivation it is virtually impossible to maintain any interest.  

As a busy executive or entrepreneur you only have so much time in a day so don’t waste it on areas that do not improve relationships, add value or create leverage.


Today’s guest post is from Mike Myatt,  America’s Top CEO Coach, recognized by Thinkers50 as a global authority on the topic of leadership, a Forbes leadership columnist, author of Leadership Matters, and CEO at N2growth. His new book, Hacking Leadership: The 11 Gaps Every Business Needs to Close and the Secrets to Closing Them Quickly, is available on Amazon.