One of the problems that are just a truism when you take over a new group is that your employees will have knowledge that you don’t. This is particularly true in cases where you take over a group that is outside your direct technical expertise. At some point in your career success will drive you to that point, if nothing else does. This creates a significant challenge for many people. These people view the value of their Leadership in their ability to provide direct technical expertise to those in the group.
I am a degreed Engineer and have faced this challenge myself. Most Engineers want to have a Manager that has significant technical expertise that they can bring. I found myself not able to do so as far back as 20 years ago. And yet, I succeeded. I succeeded through the active acknowledgement of both my strength and my weakness. The truth is that my weakness is what helped me more than my strength.
Before I go into why weaknesses are important, I need to discuss the inner dialogue about this. I think we have all met people who refuse to acknowledge or discuss their own limitations. For me, my own limitations are not a problem of my self-esteem. I try to keep them in view so I know how to build a team to cover my weaknesses. This ability to have a range of capabilities is one of the great advantages of a team. You can deploy people that have strengths in specific areas. It takes strength of character to be able to show weakness. Other people will see your limitations. If you do not acknowledge your limitations, some people make try to take advantage of you through them.
One of the big advantages of dealing openly with your limitations is that it allows other people in your group to shine. This is a great way of building your Leadership credibility. People will see your honesty in dealing with yourself. Take the lead and find people that can help with the limitations that you have. Promote their abilities through effective delegation. Don’t feel like you have to be the person in charge of each discussion. Your job is to be in charge of the agenda, goals and metrics. If somebody else is best on one topic or another, let them strut their stuff. They will appreciate the visibility.
The best part is that you can learn! You will personally be a stronger Leader by getting information from those that you lead. There can be no better situation than that.
To recap, the reasons to work from your weaknesses are:
– Your dealing with your own limitations builds credibility with those that you work with.
– It allows you to build up members of your team.
– Creates an environment for improved teamwork.
– Allows you to maximize your lifelong learning.
This should help you think about how to grow the trust and teamwork within your group. Have a great week!
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