Business Leadership Skills: Evaluating Your Leadership Strengths And Weaknesses

The key to effective business leadership is self-assessment. Evaluating your strengths and weaknesses gives you valuable information to build a business that works for you

One of the most important tasks any business leader must undertake is a personal assessment. An honest inventory of your skills, strengths and weaknesses can give insight into those areas that need improvement as well as those you should accept and learn to work around. A personal inventory also gives you the power of information which you can then use to create situations that emphasize your strengths for more consistently positive outcomes.

It is important to adopt a positive attitude throughout this task. You will want to record your strengths and weaknesses without judgment, but with an eye toward improvement. As the saying goes, "you cannot fix what you will not face." Remember too, that there is no cookie cutter leadership mold. Leaders are as different as the businesses they lead, and each brings different strengths to the task.

Compile your list in two columns taking care to make them somewhat even, include comments where appropriate. If you are having trouble coming up with strengths or weaknesses try the following:

* Ask a trusted friend or family member for some observations

* Review past employee evaluations you have received

* Administer on yourself the same evaluation you provide for employees

* Detail past successes and list the qualities you employed in those efforts

* Detail past failures and review what skills you could have used for a more successful outcome

* Put your list aside for a day or two

* If you are asked to offer consultations, lectures or papers, is there a topic or content pattern? (these may be strengths)

* Ask for feedback from employees

* List the personal qualities of leaders that you admire - which match your own? Which do you aspire to?

* Review leading journals/articles in your area - what gaps come to mind?

* Look for patterns in your work performance (for example, which tasks do you dread or avoid regularly)

* Write a detailed job description for a leader in your industry (or review the one you already have). Assess your comfort level or skill in each task area on a scale from one to five

You will not score perfect fives in every area, nor should you expect to. The idea isn't to know it all, but to be a more effective leader by:

* Identifying, emphasizing and building on strengths

* Identifying, building up and/or working around weaknesses

* Creating a work environment that highlights your strengths

* Creating a team that complements your assets

* Developing a professional development learning plan

There may be some tasks or responsibilities that you are more comfortable farming out or delegating. That's perfectly okay. You will have more productive and satisfied employees if you are confident enough to let go and let them run with the tasks that emphasize their strengths.

Some weaknesses may require that you do some skill building. One example might be employee management. If you are shy, easily intimidated or don't communicate well, consider attending a workshop or working with a coach. Before you begin, prioritize the areas you want to work on and identify specific goals for your development program. It isn't enough to say that you want to improve your communication skills. How will that look? How will you know that you are making progress with your goals? What concrete steps will you take toward your goal each week? What is your timeline?

Work on no more than two improvement areas at one time. Use a journal to track your progress and plan next steps. If it seems that your progress is slow or stagnant, you may need to rework your plan or learn to love yourself just as you are.

Finally, do not allow this focus on your weaknesses let you lose sight of your strengths. You are still great and working hard every day to be even better.

© High Speed Ventures 2011