How to Identify and Play to Your Leadership Strengths

Many people struggle to identify their strengths. The same often holds true for those in leadership positions. According to a recent Gallup report, it’s close to impossible to be an effective leader unless you’re aware of your strengths. If you want to live up to your full leadership potential, you must first identify your talents – and put them to use.

Let’s take a look at how to identify what you do best and how you can use that knowledge to become a better leader.

Identifying Your Strengths

Certain strengths may be easy for you to recognize. For example, if you’re frequently asked to speak at conferences, public speaking may be one of your assets. Pinpointing other things you do well may take more self-evaluation.

Let’s take a look at a few questions you can ask yourself that provide insight into potential strengths and your overall leadership style.

Strategic / Analytical Leader  

  • Do you think and plan before you act? If you prefer to consider multiple options before acting, you may be someone who has a talent for analyzing situations.
  • Can you take complicated goals and make them clear for your team? This is a sign of a leader who is both a strategic thinker and a good communicator. Your team knows what is expected of them and what steps they need to take.
  • Can you recognize a situation that calls for change? If yes, you likely have a strong ability for analytical thinking. You are able to visualize what needs to happen to reach a desired outcome.
  • Do you look for ways to improve new ideas rather than discourage them? If so, you have the ability to see both the flaws and the potential in an idea, which can be both a strategic and analytical skill.

Relationship-Based Leader

  • Do you provide others with direction and purpose? This is typical of a leader with good communication and team-building skills.
  • Do you bring out enthusiasm and engagement in your team? If you answered yes, this demonstrates that you are able to connect with other people to draw a desired outcome.
  • Do your employees trust you? If employees feel comfortable approaching you with ideas and concerns, this may indicate that you excel at building relationships.
  • Do you coach and mentor employees? If you are frequently sought after to provide coaching and mentoring, it indicates you have strong interpersonal skills.

Results-Driven Leader

  • Do you follow through on objectives until the project is completed? If your answer is yes, this indicates a results-driven personality. Others likely recognize that you can be counted on to deliver as promised.
  • Do many people seek your opinions? If colleagues and friends frequently ask you to weigh in, it may indicate that you are respected for your technical and professional expertise. That is often a quality in a results-centric leader.
  • Do you go above and beyond what needs to be done? If you regularly accomplish more than the bare minimum, you likely have a strong sense of initiative that helps you meet goals quickly.

Using Your Strengths

Now that you have a sense of what you do best, it’s time to figure out how to leverage your skills. Let’s look at three leadership styles based on your core strengths and how to manage most effectively depending on your style:

  • Strategic / analytical leader: If you have strategic and analytical strengths, you should not feel pressured to make snap decisions. Your strength lies in your ability to step back and see the big picture. You function best when you give yourself time to absorb all the facts first, and then offer your insight and provide direction to your team.
  • Relationship-based leader: If you have a talent for building relationships and communicating, you probably excel at motivating a team. Use these skills to encourage your direct reports to share ideas and collaborate. A leader who is skilled at relationship building will likely inspire loyalty and engagement, resulting in employees who do their best work.
  • Results-driven leader: These leaders are the ones everyone relies on to do the heavy lifting. That’s because you’re recognized as someone who can meet goals and achieve results. People want to work for you, and other companies want to do business with you.

Recognizing what you do best and leveraging those strengths is key to good leadership. However, no matter how skilled you may be at leading, miscommunication and missteps happen. That’s why it’s smart to carry business insurance that covers mismanagement issues just in case. You can find more pointers on running and managing a small business here.

About the Author

Rebecca Hosley is a content writer for Insureon, an online small business insurance agency. She is based in Chicago and writes frequently about small business insurance and tech startups.