How do you identify your leadership strengths?
For starters, let's discuss what leadership is. According to Dictionary.com, leadership is the position or function of a leader, a person who guides or directs a group. In my terms, a leader is one who inspires and motivates their tribe. They are visionaries, trendsetters, and innovators. They're selfless, confident, and optimistic realists. They have a zest for life and a passion for guiding others to their dreams. Lastly, they're no different than YOU or I. They just know how to utilize their strengths.
What are strengths? Your strengths, are what you are inherently great at or something you've spent years learning, improving, and perfecting. Your strengths are UNIQUE to YOU. There may be others with similar gifts or strengths, but the difference is how YOU utilize those strengths. They are your God given talents that make you uniquely you.
I'll be the first to admit that identifying your strengths can be somewhat of a challenge. It's not always easy to humble ourselves and look at ourselves objectively. In fact, I spent MONTHS trying to find my unique gifts when all along they were right under my perfectly pierced nose the entire time.
I relied on my coaches, friends, and colleagues to tell me what my strengths were. I used their opinions over my intuition and spent several months trying to capitalize on those strengths that they saw in me. Unfortunately, it was a constant uphill battle. What they saw in me helped me identify my true God-given talents, but it wasn't the whole picture and until I realized that what they saw was a small piece of the puzzle I was never leveraging my full potential. Let that sink in for a bit.
Yes, I spent months claiming I was an expert at something that was not within my zone of genius. I spent months trying to be something and someone I am not. One could say that it was a waste of time; however, being the optimistic realist that I am I relish in the fact that even though it took me awhile, I can say that with 100% confidence I know what my God-given talents are and how to leverage them for my clients.
Pretty amazing isn't it?
How do you find your hidden gifts? How do you find your strengths as a leader so that you can stand out and attract your tribe?
Here are the five steps I took to hone in on my strengths so that I could figure out what I was awesome at and then use them to be a great leader for my tribe.
TAKE INVENTORY OF WHAT LIGHTS YOU UP
At the end of each day, I would jot down tasks, activities or conversations that excited me. Over time I noticed a trend and could recognize the hidden talents or strengths that I was overlooking.
I also jotted down my values and beliefs as well as identified knowledge or education that I had that others around me didn't have.
Here's an expert tip for you, what you are amazingly great at is usually something that you can do without much thought or little to no instruction. It just comes naturally to you. What comes naturally to you is your unique gift. Others do not have that special gift. It is specific to you. Much like a fingerprint.
I encourage you to grab a notebook or use the notepad feature on your mobile device and take inventory of what excites you, what skills you have, what your values and beliefs are and knowledge or education that you have. Do this for a few weeks or until you start to see a pattern and have jotted down everything that you can think of that relates to your strengths and unique gifts.
TAKE INVENTORY OF THE WAY YOU DO THINGS
Similar to taking stock of what lit me up, I noted the ways would do certain tasks. What I found was that I had a unique way of doing things that were different than others. I no longer felt like I was following a cookie-cutter approach to anything but saw the unique talents that I had.
Therefore, in addition to noting what lights you up, take inventory of the process in which you do things. This process is your unique approach, and no one will be able to do it exactly the way you do what you do.
Over time, you'll start to notice a trend and this my dear is your unique piece to the overall puzzle.
ASK FOR FEEDBACK FROM OTHERS
I asked for feedback on my strengths from my family, friends, colleagues, and clients. Trust me when I tell you that some of the feedback was so out in left field, but for the most of part, they had similar responses.
As such, I was able to use that feedback and cross reference it to the personal inventory that I had been building with my strengths and processes. It was a huge breakthrough for me! I was finally starting to see the pieces of the puzzle being put together.
Therefore, I encourage you to ask your friends, family, colleagues, and clients what your strengths are. Have the share with you what your top 3-5 are that they recognize in you. Don't worry about what they say, just write it down. When you start putting the pieces together, look for common characteristics, traits, or patterns that highlight your strengths.
TAKE A STRENGTH FINDER ASSESSMENT
I took a strength finders evaluation and found out what my top strengths were and my weaknesses. It was kind of enlightening, to say the least. To be entirely honest, I wanted to see how accurate the test was because I felt confident that I already knew what my strengths were. My top strengths are innovation, strategic thinking, curiosity, ambition, and visionary.
The point here is that when you take an assessment, it can deliver some remarkable insights into who you are and why you do what you do.
I recommend taking a strengths finder test. I used the Richard Smart assessment and loved results that it delivered. I spent maybe 10-15 min and got valuable insights into my strengths as a leader. If you'd like to take his assessment, you can take it HERE.
REVIEW PAST "9-5" PERFORMANCE REVIEWS
Even though I love being an entrepreneur, I wouldn't trade the experience I received from all the jobs over the years. Several have given me knowledge, skills, and experience that I use in my business. In my "9-5" days, my supervisors did performance reviews. To be honest, I always dreaded them, but I am thankful for them now because I leveraged them to find common traits that several of my supervisors saw over the years.
Once I found the similarities, I cross referenced them to my lists and notes of what I had already compiled. It is amazing what you can discover when you start looking!
Therefore, if you have old performance reviews pull them out and take a look. Look for the commonalities between then and cross reference the to the information you already have.
By now, it should be apparent as to what your strengths are and if not listen to your intuition. I'll say probably 9/10 you already know what your strengths are. You're just not opening your eyes to what's right in front of you because you don't trust your intuition.
Here's the thing, knowing your strengths is a key piece to success both in business but also as a leader. Knowing your strengths as a leader has so many benefits but here are a few to give you an idea:
- It boosts your self-confidence and improves your mindset.
- It sets you apart from everyone else as a leader.
- It allows you to experience growth personally and professionally.
- It brings to light your weaknesses and how you can improve.
- It'll be a guide for you to inspire and motivate others.
As you can see, knowing your strengths as a leader has many advantages. Therefore, I strongly encourage that if you don't already know what you good at that, you start this self-exploration process to finding your strengths. It'll be one of the best things that you can do for yourself and your clients.
If you'd like to read a related blog post, kindly take a look at the 7 Signs Your an Amazing Leader. I know you'll find it intriguing!
Alright, please share in the comments below: What are your 3-5 strengths as a leader?