You may think that nobody notices your weak points.
In fact, many of us think we can wave a magic wand persuading others to focus on our strengths by covering up our weaknesses. But like a sleight of hand trick gone awry, our attempts to distract merely focus a spotlight on what we are trying to hide.
And for the most part, humans cut each other quite a bit of slack. We know that Joe is really disorganized and Kathy’s always late. We understand that Bill might blow a gasket every now and then and Rose is a micro-manager. Everyone knows.
So why do we try to pretend as if it’s not true? What if we used the energy we spend on smoke and mirrors to strengthen our weak points by asking for help from our colleagues and direct reports?
Marshall Goldsmith shared some of his research in his article: Advice on Getting from Here to there:
“Start asking your direct reports, “How can I do a better job of helping you become even more effective?” Asking works. And this isn’t just a theory. Extensive research shows it’s a fact. My partner, Howard Morgan, and I published a study on leadership development involving more than 86,000 respondents from eight major corporations. Our findings are hard to debate.
Lots of Common Sense
Managers who asked their co-workers for suggestions for improvements, listened to these suggestions, learned from the people around them, and consistently followed up to check on progress were seen by their direct reports and colleagues as becoming more effective leaders. Managers who didn’t ask and follow up were not seen as becoming more effective leaders – even though they participated in exactly the same leadership development programs.
The real hurdle is asking for help. Which weak point do we work on first? Who do we ask for help? How do we ask?
Coach Me Quick tips for strengthening your weak points by asking for help:
- Identify a weak point and re-frame it as a growth area. It’s probably something that pops up daily or weekly. Maybe it’s a habit you want to break or a skill you want to hone. Make it challenging but do-able. For example; you may want to get better at communicating changes in strategy to all stake holders more efficiently or take some small steps to stop micromanaging.
- Choose two people you trust and share your goals with them. For example you might say; “I’ve been working on breaking my habit of micro-management and I wondered if you would let me know if you notice any improvement over the next month or so?” And then share specific steps you are planning to take. Thank them for helping you develop as a leader.
- Every so often, check in with those two people to find out how you’re doing. Ask them to let you know if they see progress and if not, ask for ideas from them on how you might move forward.
Knowing that you are working on your growth areas might even inspire your colleagues to reflect on their growth areas. And then you might be selected to be the helper – that’s a win-win.
Turning weak points into growth areas in L.A.,