Many entrepreneurs (and people in general) try to hide their weaknesses. We want our strengths to come out when dealing with employees, customers and the like, and do our best to hide our weaknesses to give the impression they don’t exist. Lead with our best foot forward…
It’s understandable, of course, and it’s no different than being afraid to put your hand up in class to ask a potentially dumb question. Still, it doesn’t cultivate personal or entrepreneurial growth.
When you let your weaknesses be exposed, or at least stop trying to hide them, it forces you to face them head-on. Once exposed for the world to see, you want those weaknesses gone. Not only that, people within your circle want to help you improve on your weaknesses. Inner-circle people can tell once you stop trying to hide your flaws. It energizes them to provide constructive criticism… those we care about, we help.
By the way, anyone who takes the time to get to know you or your company can see your weaknesses clearly, and very early on. So, ‘hiding’ your weaknesses really only impacts you, albeit negatively.
Imagine how far you can go if you develop a plan and create habits to overcome weaknesses… imagine turning areas of weakness into strength.
I sought feedback from people who know me well to see what shortcomings they noticed. Their input was hard to take at first but relatively consistent.
One of my weaknesses is I don’t get involved with others unless there is a crisis. In other words, I’m not really helpful in the day-to-day. If they’re desperate, I’m there — but other than that, I can come off as somewhat aloof.
The second one was more on the entrepreneurial front… I don’t often play a supportive role. Yikes, I thought when hearing this — I must be a first-class POS.
My friends were trying to tell me that I need to show support for new ideas/projects regularly and that support is far more than just giving the green light to proceed. I thought about those that work with me — some experts in their field, from engineering to analytics. Why don’t I get behind their ideas and projects in a more supportive role, even if I’m just a cheerleader? There is no reason not to, and it would reinforce my appreciation for them and what they contribute to the overall business.
I enjoy it when others take the ball and run with it, but I should be helping them along the way, not watching and waiting for results. I now realize there is a fine line between giving people their space to run with an idea and coming off as disinterested.
Imagine I didn’t face these hard truths — these weaknesses of mine… My life as an entrepreneur could experience consistently high turnover and probably several missed opportunities. Weaknesses — bring them to light for your own good and those around you. Just that little exercise I did has made me more empathetic, a better listener, and an improved entrepreneur.