[January 13, 2016] Good leaders have a matchless ability to judge the character of others. But it’s the realizing of weaknesses in others that’s so important for a leader. I was fortunate as a junior officer that my commander saw my weaknesses that needed work and he was able to push and pull me in the right direction to help overcome them.
It’s been said that anyone can recognize a weakness in others. That however is not exactly true because it takes a very special ability to realize a weakness and pinpoint the problem causing it. Thus, it takes a truly good leader to “see” weaknesses in others but it also takes a special leader to do something about it.
“Try to help others. Consult their weaknesses, relieve their maladies; strive to raise them up, and by so doing you will most effectually raise yourself up also.” Joseph Barber Lightfoot
Realizing weaknesses in those who work with us, permits leaders to provide coaching, mentoring, and teaching. Realizing the weaknesses in our enemy (or competition) allows leaders to exploit them to win. The Christian ethic lists the seven deadly sins of lust, gluttony, avarice, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. It is a given that these have been the downfall of many in the story of humankind and will forever be.
My commanding officer saw that I was a micromanager, a bit arrogant, and not technically proficient as I should have been as a lieutenant in the U.S. Infantry. Working with me, sometimes serendipitously, he was able to sand off some of the rough edges that I had. He showed me personally how to correct those things he saw in me as weaknesses. I’m a better person today for it.
Leaders should not be reluctant to identify weaknesses in others. Today, doing so is not so politically correct; a leader verbalizing those weaknesses can bring scorn on himself for doing so. Care should be taken to respect the privacy of those who we are helping but it is the overriding imperative that the person receive guidance to overcome their weaknesses.
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