The Leadership Quality No One Ever Mentions

Yesterday, I led a seminar that began with a discussion of leaders the group admired and why. The conversation was worthwhile and predictable. Everyone admires leaders who possess passion, courage, insight, integrity, vision, and the list goes on.

No one ever says:

There’s an essential leadership quality that never makes the list. Great leaders need, find, and receive help. Self-sufficiency is code for I don’t need others. If you don’t need others, you aren’t reaching high enough.

Not needed:

When you don’t need help, you tell others they don’t matter. Everyone, however, needs to matter. Self-sufficient leaders drive competent people away.

Not weakness:

You don’t need help because you’re weak. You need help because you’re strong and all strengths have corresponding weaknesses.

Dynamic leaders have great strengths and great weaknesses – the greater the strength the greater the corresponding weakness, unless you’re God.

Not a cry baby:

Whining is irritating and unattractive. Woe is me doesn’t invite others in, it drives them away. Weak leaders aren’t whiners who enjoy the safety of excuses. Weak leaders are strong leaders that invite respect.

Seeing your weakness:

The greatness of your vision exposes the depth of your weakness. I love hearing leaders say they can’t do it. Great success begins in weakness, even desperation.

People who don’t need help live small lives with little influence and even less impact.

Inviting others in:

  1. Others come in when you let your heart out.
  2. Frailty is an invitation to those with authenticity.
  3. Fakers never let others see their weaknesses. They also criticize and avoid authentic people. Your authenticity makes fakers feel awkward.
  4. Give your strength to those who compensate for your weakness.
  5. Don’t focus on your weakness, just acknowledge it. Focus on your strength. Moving forward while feeling weak is courageous strength.

How can leaders expose their weaknesses in ways that invite others in?

When does exposing weakness become whining?

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