Leadership Strengths Can Turn into Weaknesses

This post recently appeared on SmartBlog on Leadership:

When it
comes to leadership, is there such thing as too
much
of a good thing? There sure can be! In fact, just about any weakness
can be attributed to one or more strengths that are overused.

In a recent
talent review meeting, the executive team was discussing the strengths and
development needs of a promising up and coming leader. One of her greatest
strengths was her customer focus. This was a company that placed a high value
on customer service, so that strength had served her well.

However,
this leader was developing a reputation for breaking too many company policies
and rules, alienating or bullying other departments, being too narrowly
focused, and not strategic enough. Her passion for taking care of her customers
at all costs was now turning into a
liability.

So yes, you can even be too customer focused.

Here are six
other common leadership strengths that when overdone can turn into leadership
weaknesses:

1. The results focused leader. This is the leader that gets things
done and delivers results. The downside? They often get results at the expense
of others, leaving a trail of bodies in their wake. In the worst cases, they
may even cut ethical and legal corners.

2. The courageous leader. This is the leader that’s not afraid
to take a stand, makes the tough decisions, and stands up for what’s’ right.
However, when overdone, can come across as dogmatic, uncompromising and overly
critical, picking too many fights and burning too many bridges.

3. The caring, compassionate
leader. 
Yes, you can be too nice, especially when the leader can’t deal with
underperformers, avoids conflicts, and can’t make tough business decisions that
have a negative impact on people. They can also be taken advantage of and be
seen as naïve.

4. The empowering leader. This is the leader that gives lots
of room and freedom, is comfortable delegating, and takes a hands off approach
to managing others. When overdone, the leader may give too much responsibility to employees that are not ready for it, and
not enough direction to those that need it. They may also be seen as others as
avoiding doing any work themselves.

5.  The motivational leader. This is the leader that knows how to
rally the troops and which buttons to push to get people energized. Could there
be a downside? Only if the leader pushes people beyond their limitations, burns
people out, or be seen as showing favoritism in their attempts to appeal to
what motivates each individual.

6. The visionary, brilliant leader. The Steve Jobs leader. They are the
brilliant strategists, masters of their domain, often the smartest person in
the room, and always one or two steps ahead of everyone. However, when
overdone, they may disregard the views of others, be impatient, and have
difficulty relating with those that may not be as smart as them (meaning just
about everyone!).

The lesson
here is when strengths are overdone, they can turn into weaknesses. While it’s
good to be aware of and leverage your strengths, don’t overuse your strengths
to the point where they can have negative side effects. Be open to feedback and
learn to “dial it back”, especially when under pressure.