Untapped potential in view of resistance and reluctance

(This is the “R” installment of the series, “Alphabet for Leaders.)

Long-term success is a result of leveraging your strengths. Marilyn Savant correctly observes, “Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by eliminating our weaknesses.”

However, there comes a point when weaknesses establish what John Maxwell refers to as the leadership lid. Weaknesses restrict and eventually cap potential. Bumping against the leadership lid means you are maximizing your current strengths.

In positive terms, points of restriction may highlight points of untapped potential.

For example, if you resist dealing with conflict, dealing with conflict is both the lid and also the point of untapped potential for your leadership. If you reject personal interactions while clinging to the safety of your office, personal interactions reflect untapped opportunity.

Ray Lee Hunt suggests, “It’s more important to know your weaknesses than your strengths.” Untapped potential is unleashed by overcoming personal reluctance to acknowledge weaknesses and resistance to developing new strengths.

I’m bumping against the leadership lid right now. The organization I lead needs an organizer. I’m not it. Additionally, reaching the next level requires more than delegating organizational duties. I don’t have to do it all. However, it’s obvious that my weaknesses in this arena create a lid that caps our potential.

I’m learning to face my reluctance to focus on organization, processes, and procedures. Admittedly, I’ll never turn this weakness into my greatest strength. The thought of spending a day creating organizational charts and establishing policies and procedures makes my head hurt. However, continued success demands that I overcome my reluctance to deal with this weakness.

You can succeed to a point by following the path of least resistance. However, untapped potential requires facing personal points of reluctance. “You cannot run away from a weakness; you must some time fight it out or perish; and if that be so, why not now, and where you stand?” Robert Lewis Stevenson


How can individuals prevent personal weaknesses from capping their potential?

What other “R’s” for leaders can you suggest?