31 Days to Becoming a Better Leader
Day #11: Skills and Gaps
The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds. – John F. Kennedy
The popular narrative on leadership is to focus on “Strengths” and “Weaknesses.” As you might have come to expect, my calling is to change the paradigm by changing the language. Many of us don’t think that we are “weak” just because there’s a particular skill that’s not at the top of our competency list. And being transparent and open about defining weaknesses is not a particular passion for me or for some other leaders I know.
For example, I’m a visionary and I develop concepts. I write about those concepts. My passion is not in editing or proofreading my documents. That’s a piece I can delegate and have done so for over a decade. That works for me because I can focus on what I do best. I can do the editing, however, that’s not where my passion is and it’s certainly not my top skill. I delegate this task to a person on my team who has editing and proofreading as a top skill and really likes doing that task. Delegation is a leadership skill and is certainly not a weakness as some may have been led to believe.
Because I don’t do some things at the highest level does not mean that I am weak. I let go of things others can do in order to focus on things that only I can do.
When I interviewed Cal Turner for my podcast, “Orchestrating Success,” his story of empowering his leadership team at Dollar General spoke to me loudly. I use his example of effective leadership in keynotes and workshops. You can find that on the podcast, “Orchestrating Success, Episode 15” where you subscribe to this podcast. Or read the transcription on my website at https://hughballou.com/podcast-15-legacy-interview-with-cal-turner-jr/
Take inventory of your skills (competencies) and rate each one with a number from 1-10, with 10 being a perfect score. Define which of those need to be your priority for growing (remember that learning is a life-long journey) and which should be delegated. I suggest that any skill with a score below 5 should be delegated unless you want to grow that particular skill.
Make a list for yourself and then get feedback from a peer – not your team…yet. It will be good to use yourself as a model when you roll this process out to your team members. It’s helpful to realize that we don’t need to be good at everything. And it’s good to talk to team members about this particular thinking. It’s best for team members to have awareness for building their own skills and realizing that they don’t need to master everything they think they might be expected to do. If team members have nobody to delegate to, then this is a chance to develop collaborations in the team.
By the way, your strategy defines the competencies that are needed to complete the work. Pay attention to which of those belong to you.
Here’s my perspective… “Nobody is perfect. But parts of me are excellent.” I go with what’s excellent.
Next: Day #12 – Personal Growth Plan