How Good Leaders Leverage Their Weaknesses to Achieve Greatness

1 Surprising Thing That Keeps Good Leaders From Becoming Great

Every strength has an opposing force. Here’s how you can leverage the gap that lies between them to get to where you want to go.

A great leader possesses strengths and qualities that stand out to those who wish to achieve greatness in their own right. Steve Jobs placed no limits on imagination and fearless innovation. Richard Branson believes in his people, values integrity, and embraces life with a passion. These are undeniable assets, but something equally important lies in the gap between the admirable qualities and the weaknesses that put a leader’s greatness at risk.

Executive leadership coach and CEO of Lead From Within, Lolly Daskal, has worked with top organizations spanning 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. Through this work, she has discovered that the specific set of values and traits a leader relies on to rise to top is the very thing that causes their performance to suffer once they reach higher levels of success. As a result, she has developed a coaching methodology based on seven leadership archetypes and the personas that each represents.

In her latest book, The Leadership Gap, What Gets Between You and Your Greatness, Daskal identifies the seven archetypes, in what she calls a rethink system, an acronym for the archetypes: Rebel, Explorer, Truth Teller, Hero, Inventor, Navigator and Knight. Within these archetypes, you will find a polarity of character, hidden gaps, and a shadow that will keep you from greatness.

“You can’t have the good without the bad, you cannot recognize beauty without ugliness, and you cannot know happiness without unhappiness,” says Daskal.

Daskal offers this sage advice to help you embrace the gaps in what you know and fully leverage your greatest strengths and qualities.

Stop pretending you are something you are not.

To fully leverage your strengths, stop pretending you are something you are not and own who you really are, even if it makes you extremely uncomfortable. If you can stand at the edge of your leadership gap long enough, you will see that you are made up of many opposite forces–and that is by design. Once you accept this, you can clear the gaps in your knowledge, learn to leverage what keeps you stuck and make the leap to greatness.

What you don’t own owns you.

Every human being is born with a healthy emotional system. We come into this world without fear, without shame. We don’t make judgments about which parts of ourselves are good and which parts are bad. Along the way in life we experience the impact of the negative messages received from others. These messages, whether intended to cause emotional harm, or not, come from teachers, peers, parents, siblings–really anyone we encounter in life, and can keep us from our dreams.

As long as you continue to deny the qualities that make up who you are, your greatness will elude you. But by actively and purposefully reclaiming and owning your gaps, you can leverage them to become the person you are meant to be, live the kind of life you are meant to live, and contribute in the way you are meant to contribute.

Learn to leverage your gaps.

Our gaps trick us into thinking that we are unworthy, incapable, and unqualified. They fool us into thinking we cannot achieve all the things we want to achieve. But what we don’t realize is that we can leverage our gap to get us to where we want to go. Our gaps don’t get us lost; they are the principles and qualities that actually help us find our way. Only when we discover the gaps in our leadership, and confront our shortcomings, can we truly become the great leaders we are meant to be. Remember, we are not what happened to us, we are who we choose to be.

An important message, one that hasn’t been delivered before, lies in Daskal’s new book. When it comes to leadership or business we must realize that to be whole means to be able to claim our strengths and shortcomings as who we are.

“Leadership is about rethinking who you are and who you want to be. Most of the time our darkest gaps, our biggest fears, will carry our greatest potential,” says Daskal. “Great leaders know that they can change the world around them, but they must start by changing within.”

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