For many years I have been writing about the importance of leaders connecting with their unique strengths and gifts. When we lead by playing to our strengths rather than focusing on our blind spots, we feel empowered and worthy. In addition, studies have shown that by spending our energy on cultivating our more natural talents we will end up with more satisfaction and higher performance in our careers. That is not to say that we don’t need to address our blind spots, especially if they are preventing us from being impactful. It just points leaders to giving their gifts their rightful place.
One leader I worked with was so stuck on elevating their blind spot to prominence that they were unable to see their extraordinary talent right in front of them. They spent way too much time beating themself up for not being a stronger presenter, that they got lost in their gift of writing and connecting with others in a smaller setting.
As we look to the rest of our year, leaders may want to make room for the joys of leadership gifts.
Let Out Your Leadership Gifts
1. Identify Your Gifts and Strengths
Some leaders might be wondering how on earth they recognize their own strengths and talents. There are many ways to go about locating your superhero powers. Start by thinking what colleagues and bosses reach out to you for help. What kinds of projects are you often asked to be part of? What skills or knowledge do others often consult you about? Also, if you were to look inwards and locate what comes naturally to you, what might that be? The answers to all of these questions will empower you to see your unique qualities and gifts.
2. Put Your Blind Spots On The Back Burner
All leaders have their blind spots and definitely need to understand what trips them up. With that said, it is a far better bang for your buck to cultivate your strengths. Think about when you have been rewarded and felt top of your game. I bet it involved you growing one of your talents to the next level.
- If you are energized by working with people, take on tasks that involve team members rather than reflecting on ideas.
- If you are energized by thinking and dreaming, then delve into reading and research assignments rather than meeting with colleagues.
- If you are naturally creative, try bringing that superpower to your work world.
3. Align Your Gifts and Values
To authentically let out your leadership gifts, it is important to align them with your core values. Leaders who are strong communicators and also value the ideas that teammates share, active listening would be key. If teamwork is something that you value because it leads to more innovative outcomes, then strive to bring others together using your gift of facilitation. If creating high level deliverables is a value to you, allow your gifts of time management and proofreading to take over.
4. Scream It Out From Top of The Mountain
It’s all coming together for you now. You have a clear understanding of your gifts as well as your core values and it is time to promote who you are. When leaders own their superhero powers they are able to lead with:
5. Pay It Forward
There is just one final step in letting out your leadership gifts- help others to identify their strengths and gifts. Similar to how you recognized your unique strengths and talents, be generous in sharing your process. Tell colleagues what value they bring to you and the team. Be specific in sharing which particular gifts you depend on. Encourage them to let out their leadership gifts too.
What other strategies helped you recognize your leadership gifts?
Related: Make Your Team Gatherings Count