"A strong leader accepts blame and gives credit. A weak leader gives blame and accepts the credit." -Horace.
As a leader, there is tremendous pressure to be strong and not show or admit your own weakness to your team members. But this should not be the case.
Great leaders are not flawless; they have strengths and weaknesses. Successful leaders know how to spot and improve their own weaknesses to ensure they don't affect their performance. But not everyone knows how to do this.
So what are common leadership weaknesses?
And how can a leader spot them and improve leadership strategy?
In this article, we will explore what leadership weaknesses are, how to spot them, and what are the best ways to improve.
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Leadership weaknesses are attributes or traits a leader may possess that may result in negative actions that eventually affect performance and the work environment.
They include: a lack of emotional intelligence, poor listening and communication skills, and poor work ethic. These traits can be traced to some weaknesses in their leadership skills.
Fortunately, noticing leadership weaknesses can help mold leaders by helping them identify paths for improvement. Even good leaders can become great leaders by transforming weaknesses into leadership strengths.
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Being open to learning from weaknesses keeps strong leaders on their toes and helps them avoid letting arrogance creep in. One of the greatest downfalls for good leadership is ego. Thinking that they are always the smartest person in the room will be a barrier to growth for most leaders. When leaders stop growing, they become ineffective over time.
Knowing their weaknesses can help leaders build trust with their team members. A leader lacking specific skills can delegate tasks to a team member; this shows that they trust them to perform these tasks. This builds trust in the relationship and through the critical feedback they receive from their direct reports, the leader can improve on their weaknesses.
Weaknesses help build more leadership strengths. Weaknesses can be a result of changes within the work environment. The Covid-19 pandemic created a need for a hybrid workplace; this may have taken some leaders by surprise. It forced them to come up with solutions to improve on the leadership weaknesses they had. From these challenges, these leaders changed their leadership styles and become more dynamic and effective.
Therefore, weaknesses force us to find solutions, create new solutions, embrace others, and be more positive in our personal life and businesses.
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If you struggle with communication skills as a leader, you will have challenges in articulating your leadership strengths, positions, ideas, and expectations clearly.
The outcome of this leadership weakness is misrepresentation and misunderstanding, which lower team morale.
Great communication skills are among the distinguishing attributes of successful business leaders everywhere. Effective leaders need to master communication skills, including verbal, written, listening, and non-verbal skills.
How can you spot poor communication skills?
As a leader, spotting your own poor communication skills takes some self-awareness. That said, you can spot this common leadership weakness through the following signs:
How to improve communication skills:
To correct poor communication, you need to understand the elements of effective communication skills. This entails communicating clearly and consciously, with completeness, concreteness, and curiosity.
You can learn more about how to communicate better in the workplace here: communication styles in the workplace.
As a leader, you will be required to make decisions on various aspects of work. After all, the buck stops with you. Do it well and you will push the business forward. Do it thoughtlessly and your ability to lead effectively will be significantly diminished as you lose respect.
No one is immune to a poor decision; even the best leaders among us periodically make decisions that raise eyebrows. The goal should be to minimize instances of poor decision-making as its consequences can be devastating.
How can you spot poor decision-making abilities?
Poor decision-making ability can occur due to the following: rushing to make decisions, rarely consulting others, not being open to new ideas, or simply due to absence of self-awareness.
How can you correct poor-decision making abilities?
In a typical day, you will make roughly 35,000 decisions. Some may not be meaningful, but some will be, especially if other team or staff members rely on them. As this is one of the most important soft skills of leadership, how do you ensure you are delivering objective and clear decisions?
To get it right, do the following:
In the words of Bill Gates, "a true leader empowers others."
Empowerment is one of the key attributes that a good leader should possess. Those in leadership positions need to make an effort to identify and attract future leaders, and then motivate and equip them to achieve success.
An empowering and effective leader has good communication skills, gives constructive criticism, has clear expectations, and has an eye for talent within their staff. They know how to ensure that employee engagement and employee morale are high.
How can you spot your inability to empower others?
You might mistake delegating tasks for empowerment. They are similar, but not discerning the difference can may lead to disappointments from your team members and their energy and enthusiasm will waiver.
That said, you can spot your leadership weaknesses through the following:
How can you correct your inability to empower others?
To empower others, you need to understand the importance of empowering others and how this connects to your influence and leadership impact.
For instance, empowerment fosters personal development in an environment of trust and it helps employees build their own rules for success, leadership strengths, and analyze and improve on failures.
Work on creating an empowering environment for your employees as it will increase customer satisfaction levels and improve employee morale.
Have a clear vision and achievable goals and objectives. This will help create a framework that guides employees to make empowered decisions that can lead to success.
Emotional intelligence is one of the core aspects of leadership. It is crucial to building relationships within the company and it helps many leaders improve team building and have successful businesses.
However, leaders who lack emotional intelligence negatively impact a work environment due to their behavior. This leads to lower morale and productivity, all of which has a direct impact on the company goals.
How can you spot a lack of emotional intelligence?
A leader with low emotional intelligence can limit your leadership effectiveness in many ways.
So, what are the signs that you lack emotional intelligence?
You can spot the following signs:
How can you correct a lack of emotional intelligence?
To correct a lack of emotional intelligence, you need to take a step back and work on yourself. Fix your weaknesses – especially when it comes to emotional control.
You need to be self-aware and recognize your strengths and limitations, including how your emotions and behaviors impact everyone around you.
Another aspect is self-regulation, including managing and controlling your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. This enables you to remain calm and level-headed, especially in times of conflict or stress, and will help you make informed decisions.
Lastly is relationship management. This is crucial because the more you connect with your team, the easier it is to understand and avoid potentially damaging relations. Moreover, you will be in everyone's good favor if you are understanding their feelings.
For more insight, you can look up this: Emotional Intelligence in Leadership.
Successful leaders choose a strong leadership style that can allow them to be dynamic and flexible to make changes when necessary. Part of a leader's job description is how to manage change as it is necessary for growth and success.
However, some leaders are rigid and are not eager to change their ways; you may be one of them.
You may have fears that change may be expensive, or the entire team may fail to adapt to change. However, the consequences of resisting change can be costly to the entire company or organization in the long run.
To be a change driver you need to find a way to accept change yourself. Change comes in many forms; knowing when it's necessary and how you can incorporate it into your leadership style is key. And it doesn't mean that you have to change your whole leadership style.
Have a change management framework in place that will allow you to look at pros and cons. Include reflections on your potential, dynamic leadership traits, and reputation and then use that information to improve.
Constructive feedback is a way for good leaders to establish regular communication with their employees. Leaders can build good relationships with their teams through performance reviews and team meetings. However, things can go sideways if a leader provides negative feedback.
Negative feedback will sound like criticism and this can undermine the relationship between you and employees, leading to a decline in performance and productivity.
Sometimes in an attempt to provide constructive feedback, which helps your team members grow, negative feedback can slip in the process.
But how can you know that you are failing to provide constructive feedback?
Here are some signs:
Feedback should be timely, given as soon as possible after a situation. When you provide feedback that is clear, respectful, encouraging, and concise the recipients will take it up and apply it.
Also, with coaching you can learn how to handle situations better, including how you can analyze them to come up with solutions that can help in problem-solving. Consult with leadership coaches to help you polish up your approaches and ensure you are on the same page with your team.
Vision guides a company in creating coherent strategy and drive toward desired results. However, a lack of vision can cause a company to collapse in the long run.
Lack of vision is a major leadership weakness. A bad leader is judged by how they work in the leadership position they occupy and one of the biggest factors they can miss is vision.
Leading with vision and direction requires excellent planning. To convince your staff or employees to follow your lead, you need to give them something to work with, or an objective to accomplish.
So, how exactly do you do that?
Here are some pointers:
Micromanaging is one of the common leadership weaknesses that leaders have. It can help you produce short time results, but in the long run, it might have negative consequences. It might create an environment of low confidence and insecurity as people will feel like they're not doing anything right.
Here are some signs you are a micromanager:
How do you correct mismanagement?
You have found out you are a micromanager, what efforts can you take up to correct this behavior?
Try the following:
Accountability is a key pillar to success; it guides you to hold yourself responsible for every action that you take. The absence of it can derail the performance of the company.
What are the signs that you lack accountability?
How to correct absence of accountability:
If you want to create change, improve performance, or encourage a good company culture, accountability is vital. Increased accountability results in improved performance, stronger dedication to work, and heightened motivation.
Also, work on your self-awareness. If you want to hold your team or staff accountable, you should start by being responsible for every action you take.
For More Tips: How to Improve Self-Awareness.
When you lack empathy, the disconnect between you and your team members will grow. They will feel like you don't take their feelings into account.
Lack of empathy in the workplace can lead to toxic relationships, burnout, high turnover rates, difficulty achieving goals, and reputation problems.
How do you correct a lack of empathy?
Empathy is innate, but can also be learned over time. This means you can improve your empathy skills. But how can you do it?
Here are some ways you can improve your empathy: