Manager Know Thyself: Identifying your Strengths and Weaknesses for Better or Worse

One of the hardest things to do in life is to be completely honest with yourself about yourself. It requires total truthfulness about strengths and weakness regardless of how those revelations make us feel about ourselves. Nevertheless, as entrepreneurs, it’s probably our greatest weapon in putting together a great team of people to build our vision into a viable company.

Beginning with your strengths, make a list of five areas in which you excel, starting with the strongest.  Maybe your strongest skill is number crunching, motivating or hiring, but whatever it is, it’s important that you know it inside and out, because chances are good that the product and/or service idea you have is born out of that strength. It’s also probable that you will need to flex that particular muscle a lot, especially during the start-up phase of the company. You also need to make a list of the five areas where you are the weakest (again starting with the weakest). This is important because you need to know what areas you need to stay away from. These items are the things that, if not properly handled, can wreck your plans before they even get off the ground. Once you’ve made your lists, step back, take a look at it and make peace with it. Accept it because the next steps are almost impossible without the ability to reconcile your good and bad points.

Done? Ok, let’s move on.

Why was that step important? Because now you are going to have to hire people who are strong at the things you are weak at but as important as that is, what may be more important will be your ability to manage that person’s strengths and weaknesses. As with all things, it starts with the top. If you are able to lessen, or even eliminate, the impact of your weaknesses on the organization while maintaining the positive impact of your strengths, you will create a companywide culture where everyone will seek to do the same. The hope is that you hire people who are so passionate about the company’s vision and direction that they are more than willing to go beyond the call of duty to help. If that’s the case, it becomes your job to help them continue contributing to the company through their strengths while avoiding their weaknesses. Is it hard? Yes, but once you master this key skill, it’s amazing what can happen.

But it all begins with you. Do you know your strengths and weakness and are you able to successfully manage them?

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Douglas  Paul

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2 Comments

  • VJ Misra

    Excellent article Douglas! As a leader, identifying your strengths or more importantly your weaknesses is absolutely crucial to your business. This is all the more important if you are an entrepreneur and starting out with a small team. Delegation is what a leader or manager should be effective at. If you are weak at something, instead of taking a stab at it, delegate it to someone who has finesse in doing that particular activity.

  • Matt Timothy

    I do think there is a rather keen and distinct difference between managing and leading. The chief responsibility of a leader, for example, is to rally people for a better future. If you are a leader, you better be unflinchingly, unfailingly optimistic. No matter how bleak his or her mood, nothing can undermine a leader's belief that things can get better, and must get better. I believe you either bring this to the table or you don't.