If you spend your life trying to be a leader good at everything, you will never be great at anything. While our society encourages us to be well-rounded, this approach breeds mediocrity.
Perhaps the greatest misconception of all is that of the well-rounded leader.
Organizations are quick to look for leaders who are great communicators, visionary thinkers, and who can also get things done and follow through. All of these attributes are desirable and necessary for an organization to succeed.
Of all the leaders Gallup studied, none have world-class strengths in all areas.
Sure, many leaders can get by or are above average in several domains. Those who strive to be competent in all areas become the least effective leaders.
Some leaders will spend much of their career in a leadership role, and most of their efforts have been focused on trying to mimic traits of leaders they know or read about. They spend most of their time striving to be just like the leaders they admire.
Yet they fail to realize that the people they look up to are all very different people with different strengths. There is no single person who embodies half of the characteristics leaders list as a well-rounded leader.
Without an awareness of your strengths, it’s almost impossible for you to lead effectively.
“I’ve never met an effective leader who wasn’t aware of his talents and working to sharpen them.” — Wesley Clark, Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander