How to identify the gaps in your own leadership style

How to identify the gaps in your own leadership style

A leader’s strengths and weaknesses directly inform how they guide others to thrive at work. The good always comes with the bad, as every leader has flaws that correlate with the skills that have led them to succeed in their career.

According to Lolly Daskal’s new book The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness, these shortcomings are referred to as leadership gaps as they can either prevent you from reaching your full potential or be leveraged to help you rise to the occasion as a boss, supervisor, executive or any other type of leader.

As the CEO and founder of Lead from Within, a leadership consulting firm, Daskal has first hand experience coaching hundreds of executives at companies worldwide.

Over the years, Daskal has identified patterns in the behavior of leaders to come up with a framework for determining the gaps in anyone’s leadership style.

Here are her best tips for figuring out what your faults are as a leader, so you’re better equipped to address them.

Declare what motivates you.

Your motivation as a leader is directly connected to your fears and the secrets you’re hiring internally. By being honest with yourself as a leader and understanding where you want to go in your career and life, you’ll be able to define your inner motivation.  

As Daskal shares, “Our character is constantly asking us to take a closer look at our deepest motivation.” Thinking about your past and truly understanding what motivates you is difficult, sometimes painful.

If you’re able to deeply analyze what drives you, the parts of your personality that you want hidden are more likely to come forward and help you better understand the deeply ingrained gaps that inhibit you.

Be open to change.

Its likely that your gaps as a leader are staring you in the face, but you often ignore them as you tend to rely on what’s always worked for you. Many of us do this, but at some point this strategy fails says Daskal.

To truly grasp what your faults are as a leader, you’ve got to be open to changing the way you operate. If you’re content with continuing to do what you’ve always done, then you’ll never achieve a deep understanding of what challenges you’re facing.

Know the leadership archetypes.

To see yourself objectively and understand both the skills you possess and the corresponding gaps blocking your growth, know the seven leadership archetypes that define professionals.

Each archetype, coined by Daskal, helps a leader see traits in themselves to better clarify both the strengths and weakness of their own leadership style.

For example, the Truth Teller is a leadership archetype that defines a person driven by a need to sincerely help and speak out to others with honesty, even if it’s uncomfortable.

The leadership gap associated with the Truth Teller is suspicion, as many with this archetype become overly wary of being deceived.

Review each distinct archetype defined by Daskal to understand the gaps that stands between who you are as a leader today and what you’d like for yourself in the future.

It’s always evolving.

You need to get comfortable with the act of questioning your leadership approach as you’ll experience different archetypes and gaps across each stage of your career.

As Daskal points out, “I see leadership style as an arc that is in a constant state of movement and change—we shift from one style to another depending on the situation.”

Most leaders tend to fall into the same leadership personas again and again, but becoming aware of each archetype is critical to adapt to your changing circumstances and the new gaps that’ll arise as a result.

This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.

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