Keep Weaknesses In Sight; and leverage on your Assets

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This article briefly discusses the importance to work on improving a leader, a manager or an individual\'s weaknesses.

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Keep Weaknesses In Sight; and leverage on your Assets

  1. 1. Keep weaknesses in sight; and leverage on your assets By Patrick O. Coutois If you refer to my previous article related to the Chally certification seminar, i highlighted the fact that no personality is perfect, since we all are the resultant of a complex mix between strengths and weaknesses, that we need to be aware of and focus on improving, to achieve a higher degree of personal efficiency. Yet, in a professional setting, some over-exaggerated personality traits can have a negative impact on your career. Rather than going through life and wearing our own weaknesses as a burden, you have to be aware of, and accept, them in order to find a leverage point and turn them into assets.  Channel the energy of your ambition Self-driven individual and risk-taker, who has a nose for the right opportunities, or simply politics Jedi Master, expert in leveraging on corporate politics for your own benefits, are qualities representing strong assets. Generally highly analytical, excellent planner, confident and quick decision maker, you tend to demonstrate a solid ability to decrypt the subtleties of the corporate game. This opportunistic mind set can yield positive results in terms of career progression, and short to medium terms profit generation, but with the risk of generating discomfort, and even distrust, from colleagues and team members, when a personal agenda outperforms the organization's, thus leading to an overall unsustainable group efficiency. Focusing a dynamic personal ambition toward the organization's goals is often more sustainable and a much better approach to shine and be noticed, not only as an over- achiever but also a strong team player.  Apply a healthy pressure Driven by KPIs and deadlines, impatient, pro-activity and action focused, everyone in the organization know you get things done, on time, but at the cost of sometimes imposing such a pressure on others, that it could give way to counterproductive consequences... Frustrations to be surrounded by people that simply "don't get it" the first time, so focused on a single project that you fail to take into consideration the overall interest and objectives of the organization as a whole, enquire with a team member on the progresses of the project 10 times a day, these are a few examples of the common shortcomings associated with this approach, if taken to an extreme. Taking a step back for reflection, re- channeling your own creative and production energy, and making the effort of considering the level of interest, motivation and practical/technical understanding of others, to communicate in a clearer manner objectives and directions, are part of the elements that will ensure this quality to be sought after and expose you as a key contributor to the overall success and development strategy of the organization.  Do not mistake empathy for a lack of leadership In times where most organization have, by now, realized that their best assets are their own people, a more team or people oriented managerial approach has a rightful place within the corporate environment. Individuals with high empathy also tend to be highly receptive to others and able to read
  2. 2. between the lines, which is a very important quality in conflict resolution or planning. Even though being a very appreciable managerial trait, projecting a friendly and approachable image or wanting not to be seen as a boss but an integral part of the team, can also have serious drawbacks in terms of team productivity, credibility, and authority; eventually risking to negatively impact decision making and process efficiency. If not properly controlled, conflict aversion or the constant search for a general consensus are notions that can potentially cripple team, or departmental, efficiency and also seriously affect your ability to effectively manage and gain respect from others.  So, you are a shy one... Sweaty palms when walking into a room full of strangers, a knot in the stomach while presenting to a formal audience, difficulties to propose ideas to a boss, the projected image of being a "cold" person when the reality is very different... Some of these small happenings can make the life of a shy person a torture. Shyness, or reserve, is often seen as a curse for the beholder, hinting a certain lack of confidence, while it can also put forward some important qualities such as solid observation/analytical skills allowing you to efficiently "decode" people's behavior, and a common capacity to make up in technical abilities what you do not think to possess in social skills. These qualities are actually often sought after when an expert point of view is demanded or when confidentiality is primordial.  Tame the inner beast The project you are leading is dragging a bit longer than you initially planned for; one of your team members is late for a meeting, that’s one drop too many for you and you can no longer contain your anger; you cannot help it, it is infuriating you and you need to express it to your team! Watch out, losing self-control might seriously affect your credibility. At best, your team will consider this as a lack of composure, but in a worst case scenario they might simply turn to information retention and over- cautiously communicate on problems, fearing to have to face your hot-temper. Try to channel your temper and only raise your voice when the situation truly requires it. Indeed, a temper does somehow nurture other qualities and it would be a shame not to exploit them. A well applied temper can “electrify” and energize both the manager and his/her team members, clear-up bottle necks and sometimes does get things moving forward. As well, a manager prone to displaying a hot-temper is usually perceived, at least in western cultures, as demanding, straight-forward and a go-getter, who knows how to get involve in his/her team’s skills development. Put simply, the self-controlled irascible could actually have the qualities of a real leader. These are, of course, only a short sample of traits that can be identified in your personality, and eventually leading to great or poor performance in a work context. It is critical to gain a solid understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses, to properly address them, alone or through coaching, find work-arounds and improve personal productivity and efficiency, but also to properly understand how to efficiently manage others. No one expects you to be PERFECT, yet, you will have to accept the idea of change and understand the efforts required to apply these changes, which will sometimes demand to consider, from a different perspective, behavioral traits you might have overlooked or not considered at all. Someone who is impatient and worshiping rapidity in action might have a hard time understanding the advantages of using a slower approach, at least until
  3. 3. he/she realizes that active listening and a deeper analytical focus, are qualities often associated with a slower approach to things; qualities that indeed the individual might be short of… We are all the sum of our strengths and flaws, some do not need to be addressed, since they might not affect our daily life or performance at work, but others are more critical to our success as leaders, managers or simply individuals evolving in a social context. --- Patrick Courtois (博阅明) is the Director & Principal Consultant at Ming Bai, a consultancy specialized in Organizational & Individual Development. As a trained Consultant, and Coach, Patrick operates between Europe and Asia, and brings forward over 13 years of international consulting and people experience to a clientele of multinationals, SMEs and individuals. Keep in touch with him at www.ming-bai.comor www.coachinginchina.com

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