The Leadership Series: Strengths and weaknesses of good leadership

24th July 2023 | 4 min read

LABS_Leadership-34_Blog-Header-1-The Leadership Series: Strengths and weaknesses of good leadership

We look at the strengths great leaders should possess and the weaknesses they might want to address to continue to be successful.

Being a leader isn’t easy but if you can capitalise on your strengths and look to turning your weaknesses into positives then you’re well on your way to being an effective, long-term leader. 

Firstly, there are several leadership strengths:


Being an active listener 

This sounds straightforward but it takes more thought in practice. Active listening involves being mentally present when a team member is talking with you, understanding what they are saying, what the implications are and being able to thoughtfully respond and reflect, as well as retain the information for later. This builds trust and transparency within the organisation, as well as engendering a sense of loyalty among staff. It can also give a useful insight into the tension points within different departments and presents an opportunity to unite the team and drive engagement. 


Developing better self-awareness 

Self-awareness is one of the key leadership strengths. Being aware of your emotions and developing a framework for how you handle them enables you to react better to situations. monitor your own emotions and reactions as a leader. Without it, leaders can appear arrogant or entitled. Keep an open mind, stay focussed, understand your own strengths and weaknesses, practice self-discipline and know your triggers are all part and parcel of being a self-aware leader. 


Resolving conflict effectively

Conflict usually arises when a manager and their team or colleagues aren’t aligned in their views. There might be inherent biases, cultural beliefs, social status, and other differences at play. The trick is being able to listen to both sides in a calm and patient fashion to avoid conflicts escalating. Taking the lead in a discussion to diffuse the situation is key, as is allowing everyone to share their points of view to lead towards successful mediation or compromise. 


Being able to make difficult decisions

Strong leadership is not just about making decisions, it’s the circumstances in which they are made, whether there’s an element of fear, uncertainty, or doubt. Making tough calls when the situation demands can ultimately be necessary. Indecision might in many cases be worse than not taking those difficult decisions. Stay informed, set clear deadlines for yourself, and limit the number of factors involved in ultimately deciding to press ahead or not. Have courage!


Working with all types of people

As a leader, you must be able to connect and get the best out of different personality types. You need to be a master at getting to know what makes people tick, the difference between the needs of an extrovert and introvert for example and how they work most efficiently. This is all part of creating a completely inclusive work environment. Accepting one’s own flaws and adapting your language accordingly is essential. 

On the flip side, leadership weaknesses can be frustrating for staff and leaders alike. To assess your abilities as a leader, it might be an idea to ask for feedback from your team members so you can begin to improve in certain areas which might include: 


Needing to delegate

It’s easy to be sucked into the ‘always on’ culture and try and be across everything all the time but failure to delegate could lead to burnout for leaders and frustration on the part of team members. Try and give your staff the space they need to do their jobs and create clear lines of communication, scope of work and boundaries and in the process perhaps establish a better life/work balance for yourself. This admittedly is no mean feat, especially for leaders who have built up the business. Otherwise, a leader who micromanages risks spreading themselves too thin, creating disruption and resentment among colleagues. 


Lacking trust

Leading on from this, not allowing others to take on tasks and processes and the subsequent loss of control may indicate a lack of trust. This could hinder the team’s motivation if they feel their leader doesn’t have belief in their abilities and could even negatively impact a leader’s standing with their contemporaries. The best way to address trust issues is to think of the team’s past competency in achieving goals or tasks. Talking and actively listening to your team might help you better understand how they work. 


Behaving without integrity

Honesty is the best policy as far as leadership goes. Acting in a dishonest way towards suppliers, clients or colleagues is likely to affect not only how you are perceived as a person but also how effective you are as a manager. So instead, leaders should aim to keep their word and be transparent in what they say and do.


Staying stagnant 

Tempting as it might be to do things as you’ve always done them, staying open to change is key to a leader. Becoming static is really a sign of weakness. Information is power here, so take in the views of a wide range of stakeholders from peers to clients and where you feel it’s appropriate, act on them. That way you’ll always stay ahead of the game in terms of innovation. Have the nerve to try new ways of working!