What’s Your Fatal Flaw?

Jun 5, 2017   //   by Gail Barker   //   Previous Blog Posts  //  No Comments


What’s Your Fatal Flaw?

Just as every leader has a unique super power, rest assured that this is balanced out by a corresponding fatal flaw. There’s some particular characteristic that you have that can absolutely undermine any and all of the good work that you do as a leader, particularly if you’re unaware of it.

  • Arrogance.
  • Excessive humility.
  • Fear of (fill in the blank).
  • An inability to ask for help.
  • People-pleasing.
  • Lack of boundaries.

This list could go on forever, sadly. What’s really disconcerting is that too many leaders and aspiring leaders aren’t aware of what their particular “fatal flaw” is. Which is a flaw, in and of itself. Because when you don’t know what your flaw is, you cannot mitigate the impact of it. (And let me assure you, it’s having an impact).

So, how do you go about recognizing your particular fatal flaw? How do you become familiar with your Achilles’ heel? And then, how do you work around it, so that you can do the great leadership work you’re meant to do?

First, pay attention. Increase your level of self-awareness. If necessary, ask a trusted (and trusted is the key word here) friend or colleague to speak to what they see as your weakness. This isn’t for the purposes of making yourself small. This is so that you can familiarize yourself with all aspects of your leadership, and work around the qualities that don’t serve.

Second, make sure that you are NOT operating on auto-pilot. Be fully present and aware of your choices in every interaction and conversation. This will allow you to notice when your “weakness” starts to make an appearance.

Third, when you notice your flaw at play, consciously choose to sidestep it, as it were. For example, if you are a people-pleaser and you have become aware that this inhibits your leadership effectiveness, then – when you feel “people pleasing” rearing its head – consciously choose actions that are less about pleasing, and more about leading effectively.  Admittedly, this ability to consciously choose different actions takes some practice – and, it will serve you well in the long run.

Bottom-line: knowing your fatal flaw as a leader is just as important as knowing your super-power. Just as you want to play to the gift of the latter, you want to minimize the impact of the former. And the only way to do that is to be aware of it. Know who you are, warts and all, and you can consciously lead with the greatest possible impact.

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