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Courage in knowing and owning your weaknesses


Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

The classic SWOT analysis, Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

We all have skills, capabilities, qualities and characteristics that fall into each of those categories. Over the years I have found and embraced courage in knowing, acknowledging and acting on my weaknesses.

When in a job interview to rattle of your strengths or the elements as to why you can do a job, come more easily than knowing and commenting on your weaknesses….right.

I remember an interview years ago where I was asked what my strengths were and why they would enable me to perform in the role. My response was from a place of courage, a place of standing out from the crowd, a place of going against the grain – well that is how I felt it was at the time.

My response was ‘…in knowing, understanding and acting on my weaknesses is a strength and so I feel it is more important for me to share with you my weaknesses and what I am doing about them, that demonstrates emotional intelligence, self awareness, honesty and the willingness to learn and grow which are all strengths of mine…’ I proceeded to share with the panel what I saw to be my weaknesses and what I was doing to change them, develop them into something or accept and recognise that I was ok with that.

In that exact same moment I believe I demonstrated courage.

I was courageous in not only knowing but highlighting my weaknesses to a recruitment panel, and opening myself to even more critical assessment. I put myself out there, raw and real. I was stepping up and being seen and ready to have a conversation.

Forbes Magazine has written about courage as being ‘the’ defining characteristic of a great leader. Something that sets great leaders apart from good leaders. I see courage as a characteristic that holds depth to ‘walking the trenches’. To reach courage you battle so many other emotions and challenges.

Leadership is not just about sharing the vision, collaborative conversations, enabling and empowering, it is also about being the pointy end of the tree; the top of mountain guiding people to what is on the other side, working with them through the tough ruts, sticky situations, managing resistance and influencing them to break through the resistance.

Leadership is having the courage to be pointy peak, to be the one that is being seen, standing up and holding strong, advocating for the team. Leadership is having the tough conversations.

Courage is key to leadership.

Do you have a fear, something that is blocking you from achieving, a weakness that is holding you back.
To know your weaknesses, acknowledge them and act on them is courage. To put your hand up and say ‘ I don’t know, but I am willing to learn’ is courage. To face a fear, a limitation or block in your life is courage.

It can be one of the most daunting experiences, yet the moment you step over that threshold into the sphere of courage you are in a world of growth and evolving.

Oh by the way – I got the job. The panel were very impressed with what I did, and acknowledged my ‘courage’ in doing so and were looking for someone to be courageous and step up.

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