Tuning Our Strengths
My 16 year old son John is becoming quite an accomplished piano player. I love to hear him play, but I confess that I haven’t always felt this way.
When he was first learning it sounded more like noise than music. In the beginning, he found a song that we all enjoyed. We encouraged him, and he got better and better at that one song. He continued playing it over and over again. He never got tired of playing it, but we got tired of hearing it. He played it fast and slow, and loud and soft. He played it in the morning and at night. It seemed like it rang through our home every waking moment.
Eventually, this song that once sounded so beautiful to us became so annoying that we finally had to tell him to never play it again. We just couldn’t take it anymore. He was obsessed with the song. Despite our vocal objections, he continued to play it. He just couldn’t help it.
Learning To Use Our Strengths
That fact that he became good at playing that song did not make it any more tolerable for the rest of us in the house. He overdid it.
Successful leaders must guard against becoming one-dimensional
Most of us understand how our weaknesses make us vulnerable, but we may overlook the thought that our strengths may also make us vulnerable.
This raises a very interesting question. Can a strength become a weakness?
Some find this question to be very challenging. The abundance of evidence supporting a strength-based approach to leading and living makes it difficult for many to even consider the thought that a signature strength can be overdone; but it can.
We may overlook the thought that our strengths may also make us vulnerable
John solved his problem on the piano by learning many songs. He didn’t spend time playing songs he didn’t like; he simply focused his passion to play the songs and style he favored. Now we are treated with wonderful music in our home.
In much the same way, successful leaders must guard against becoming one-dimensional. Each must be responsible for developing many strengths. Learning how and when to use them appropriately is what separates the very good from the very best.
This is a great time of year to take inventory of your individual strengths and how you are using them.
Are you overdoing any of your signature strengths? Are you under-using any of your signature strengths?
Don’t just answer these questions; check-in with those around you. Leveraging their perspectives may help you change your tune before it is too late.
Image by Paul Wesley