Influence

 the shape of leadership

‘Holey’ Leadership

Let your weaknesses guide your team building

Manny Melendez on June 18, 2018

Recently, my wife pointed out that I had holes in my socks and suggested I throw them away. After initially protesting that those socks were comfortable, I finally agreed that they needed to go. I couldn’t deny that my socks had worn out their usefulness.

If I may be so bold, allow me point out something to you: Your leadership style has holes in it! It’s true for each of us. But unlike the situation with my old socks, it doesn’t mean something is wrong.

Have you taken the time to evaluate your effectiveness as a leader? Hopefully, you have. You can accomplish this intentionally by reading leadership books, attending conferences or seeking out mentors.

Sometimes, though, evaluative moments happen unintentionally when we notice what someone else is doing, thanks to their amazing Instagram post or Facebook status update. We see all the great things happening in their world and think, I wish I were a good as them.

Any self-evaluation of our leadership will bring us to the realization that the way we lead has some major holes. Maybe the missing pieces in your leadership are in the realm of creativity or organization. Perhaps you struggle with management, budgeting or counseling.

When we see these holes, it’s hard not to zero in on them in a negative way. But the truth is, those holes are there for a purpose.

In a training I do with leaders, I bring out a shirt with large holes in it and say, “This is you and your leadership style.” We talk about the fact that no matter how great you are as a leader, you have places where there are gaps. Some are visible to you. Others, like a small hole in the back of a shirt, are not obvious to you, but other people may see them.

Though acknowledging our weaknesses isn’t easy, I am a firm believer that God made us incomplete in the way we lead on purpose. I believe it is because those gaps point to our need for others.

Having holes in what we are capable of doing demands that we surround ourselves with people who can do what we can’t. So, how do we deal with those missing pieces?

Any self-evaluation of our leadership will bring us to the realization that the way we lead has some major holes.

Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

When we see our shortcomings, we often put a large amount of effort into making those weaknesses stronger. If we are a creative type, we work on our administration. If we are introverted, we may force ourselves to become outgoing.

While there is some value in this, I suggest a different approach: Work on making your strengths even stronger. God has given you talents and gifts that have brought you to where you are. Work on developing those gifts, and become an expert in what you do well.

This doesn’t mean you should completely ignore your weaknesses. But don’t make them the focal point of your leadership development. Hone your natural abilities, and look for creative ways to fill your weaknesses.

See Your Holes As Opportunities, Not Deficiencies

God doesn’t call us to do everything on our own. To grow and become better, we need others around us who can do things we can’t. We may become aware of holes and think, This is exactly why I’m not a good leader. But we should see these gaps instead as opportunities to partner with people who flourish in areas where we lack.

To be candid, I am not always detail minded. If we plan an event of any kind, I want to talk about all the fun and crazy things we will be doing and how we will get people involved or the impact it could make.

However, when it comes to details such as decorating, or the amount of food we need for the number of people attending, I go blank. I personally hate talking about that stuff. When it comes to such details, I have some major holes.

Thankfully, there are people on my team, including my wife, who thrive in those roles. So, instead of beating myself up about how I am not good at handling such things, I trust these individuals to make the detail decisions and relieve me of that burden.

Don’t Let the Gifts of Others Intimidate You

There is one potential problem with allowing others to thrive where you are weak: They will succeed. The problem obviously isn’t in their success. It’s in how you process their success.

When we put people in places where their gifts thrive, they will rise to levels that might surprise us. People will start praising them and recognizing their contributions. We must embrace this as a good thing; otherwise, it can spark insecurities in us.

Insecurity is the kryptonite of great leadership. As we spot the holes in our leadership, we need to fill them with people who are gifted in those areas. When we do, our ministries will grow stronger, our influence will increase, and our impact will expand.

So, when you stop to evaluate your leadership level and notice all those holes, take heart. God is showing you what to look for as you build your team.

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