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Strengthening Our Weaknesses

How many of us “like ourselves”?  How many of us have poked around our warts and owned up to the things we hate about ourselves, counter-balanced it out with a list of our strengths and decided that, on the whole, we still like ourselves?  In Emotional Intelligence terms, this is termed having “functioning Self-Regard”.  Translated, that means knowing our strengths and weaknesses and still liking ourselves anyway.

Part of being an effective Leader (and Manager) is being able to manage ourselves; and part of managing ourselves is to have effective Self Regard since, to know ourselves and still accept ourselves provides a great source of confidence, both in our abilities and our ability to recognise our weaknesses.  We then have a choice of either developing those Achilles’ heels or find others with off-setting strengths.

Part of liking ourselves is knowing who we are (identity), what we stand for and what’s really important to us (Values).  Knowing the answers to these questions allows us to decide if we like our responses or not.  If we don’t like them, we can change them.  If we don’t know what they are, we don’t know if our Identity, Beliefs and Values work for us or or unwittingly cause us problems.

Similarly, knowing our weaknesses allows us to assess them and decide if we can live with them or not.  If they are undermining success in other parts of our lives, as weaknesses often do, we can actively work at developing them and minimising their impact, possibly even turn them into strengths.  At a minimum, we can identify work-arounds to make our lives easier.

Another part of knowing ourselves is recognising our emotions and what triggers them.  The faster we can recognise our feelings, the less destruction they cause us.  By being able to distinguish between feelings and fact, the better our listening skills, our judgement, our relationships and the less conflict we engage in.

So, where does all this self-knowledge get us as Leaders?  It builds self-confidence to behave in a consistent manner, to connect with others, to draw on others’ strengths, to see things as they really are and to benefit from that knowledge, to reduce conflict, to make sound decisions.  What have you learnt on your journey of self-awareness?

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I work with Business Owners, Executives and Managers to help them overcome blockages so that they achieve their goals. I excel at getting people to think, getting people to talk and getting people to agree to giving things a go. In summary, I bring Clarity to the issues, provide on-going Support and guide them to achieve Results. I am an experienced Executive Coach and Leadership Development Trainer. I am qualified in 360 Emotional Intelligence and am constantly seeking new ways to assist my clients.

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  • Nice post Irial. It’s an interesting point. Many professionals will find this exercise difficult to carry out since very few are willing to make a pause and think about themselves, especially their weaknesses. I guess the best approach would be to include it in the agenda for the week/month?

  • Great post Irial,
    The more we face up to our own fears, the better we become at self-management, which improves all other types of management – stress, time, team, etc etc.
    Thanks for sharing

  • I like the thoughts Irial. I agree that identification of weaknesses and understanding what to do about them are paramount to personal success and consequently the success or otherwise of the business. I believe that the right approach, as you say, is to deal with them head -on and get them addressed. Working around them will, well for me anyway, just put the weakness into hiding for it to re-appear again when I don’t want it there!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for your comments guys.

    And Fred, you are spot on when you say many people will find this difficult. As with most things in life, it was easy, we’d all be doing it and, as we know, effective leadesr are not exactly 2 a penny. Interestingly, I was originally going to post on the idea of taking time out to reflect on this stuff. I went with this instead but I’ll get back to that point on my next post 🙂


  • Irial, good point on the self regard, including everything we should know about ourselves. I believe this is the core – to identify our characteristics before all plannings. As a leader, there will be commitments, responsibilities and teams to work with. Always better to be prepared by improving our weaknesses.

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  • Anonymous

    Great post Irial,

    There is no doubt that we can learn a lot from looking at ourselves and by accepting who we are warts and all. Many Managers out there do not take the time out to reflect on their weaknesses and our in complete denial. I use Thomas Internationals 360 tool, which is a great way of forcing managers to look at how other people see them. I find this helps them to take a good look at there selves. Often coaching can help a Manager reach and be happy with their self acceptance.

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