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As business leaders, owners and managers, we put a lot of effort into developing our leadership skills. We buy books. We hire coaches. We attend seminars. All of these things tell us the most important leadership characteristics: emotional quotient (EQ), decisiveness, critical thinking, empathy, drive. They tell us how best to tap into and develop those qualities in ourselves. There’s another critical component to being a great leader: Being yourself.

Embracing your strengths

Be a Better Boss by Being You - SirVent FranchisingToo often, we spend our time chasing after the leadership qualities we don’t have. The reality is that everyone has some skills needed for leadership. Rather than spending the majority of our self-development time trying to create new qualities or pulling out the ones we struggle with most, we should be tapping into the qualities we do possess. We can waste a lot of time lamenting the leadership skills that aren’t naturally a part of who we are as people. Or, we can focus on the leadership qualities we do have. We can focus on developing those skills to their full potential and utilizing those as we develop and motivate our staffs.

Acknowledging your weaknesses

As we embrace our strengths, we can’t ignore our weaknesses. There are areas of our personalities that are challenges as we lead and manage a staff or an organization. Focusing on our strengths doesn’t mean ignoring and neglecting our weaknesses. We need to be aware of our weaknesses so we know when they’re interfering with our leading. Be aware of how those weaknesses might impact your team. When you’re aware of the impact of your weaknesses, you can try to work around them, or improve on those particular skills.


Leading authentically

You can spend a lot of time trying to embrace the leadership qualities of Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, but if you focus on trying to emulate others, it will be obvious to your team that you’re not being YOU. It’s easier for people to follow when they feel like they’re following the real you. When you’re authentic, you can follow your own passions and your own value system, which can help you to lead authoritatively.So how do you lead authentically? It comes down to being honest with yourself about your values, motivations and strengths. Ask yourself what your goals are, what motivates you to reach those goals and what stands in your way. Talk to trusted members of your team honestly about how your leadership habits impact them positively and negatively. Prioritize the skills you want to spend time cultivating and developing and focus on those. Focus on the skills that help you to be the best leader you can, not the skills that have helped others to be great leaders. Push yourself beyond your normal capacity, and learn from your mistakes and experiences to grow yourself as a leader.