When A Leadership Strength Can Become A Weakness

Has your leadership strength become a weakness? Do you know that phrase ‘you can have too much of a good thing’? It doesn’t only apply to food (although I can attest to that as well after Easter in relation to chocolate eggs) – it can also apply to leadership strengths and traits as well. A leadership strength can easily become a weakness when it is overused.

I was reminded of this fact after reading ‘When your oxygen supply becomes your water leak’, one of Stuart Smith’s blog posts at Fiscal Artisans. In short, a simple flick of an oxygen pipe had changed a life-giving tool for his fishtank into a mini-disaster, as water spilled out everywhere.

It got me thinking – where else can a small change take a leadership strength and turn it into a weakness?

At IMLD, we use the Velocity Leadership CheckPoint to measure a leader / managers leadership behaviours and identify strengths and weaknesses. The scores range from 0-100%, however most scores sit between the 50-85% range.

Velocity leadership CheckPoint - Leadership Assessment Tool for Leaders

In the debriefs of results with leaders, I often refer to scores between 80-85% as ‘healthy strong’ or ‘optimised’ – the behaviour is being used to a very healthy and effective level for themselves or the team around them. For scores that rate above 85%, I will often refer to them as ‘unhealthy strong’ – the behaviour is being overused or over-relied upon, and it can make for unhealthy behaviour for the leader or for the team round them.

An example of a behaviour that is measure in the CheckPoint is Commitment. The Commitment score relates to how committed a leader is to the workplace – under 50% and the leader is committed – just not to work They are more committed to themselves (with scores this low the leader is often looking for alternative employment). Scores of 70-85% are healthy strong – the leader is committed to work and the business and is putting in the hours / effort to achieve their tasks.

With a Commitment score above 85%, a good behaviour can start to create issues for the leader. If everything is about work, and all of a leaders time is spent at work (working consistent excessive hours), it can start to have a long term detrimental effect on the leader. They can not only become tired and worn out, they can become resentful of the work and workplace, which can impact the team around them. If the leader does nothing to rectify the situation (learn to take regular breaks rather than eating at their desk, get away from the office, take annual leave) they can take the drastic of leaving the workplace.

Another scores that can become unhealthy strong is empathy. Empathy in a leader is a fantastic trait to have, particularly in uncertain times like we are experiencing now. Empathy in a leader creates understanding, curiosity and trust with team members, who them feel like the leader is seeking to understand them and truly consider their welfare as part of the work equation. Again, 70-85% on the Empathy score is a ‘healthy strong’ score. When the score exceeds 90%, it can start to dominate a leaders thinking and have a detrimental effect on leader and team. Why?

When a leader is overly focussed on the feelings / impact of behaviours on the team, they can start to diminish the impact of a behaviour on themselves. If a new piece of work comes in that requires the effort of a team member who is already busy, a leader with an excessive empathy score may decide to do the work themselves – even when they are already busy (or busier) than the team member. Excessive empathy can prevent a leader for just asking and checking if the new piece of work is possible for the team leader to complete – they just assume. Over consideration of the team sounds like a nice trait, but not when it is isn’t based in reality. The leader can end up taking on more takes themselves than they should, which has a net negative effect for themselves and their team.

Similar comparisons can be made with leaders who rely too heavily on late notice problem-solving rather than early planning, or are so confident in their actions it appears to others as arrogance.

Do you have a behaviour that you use to excess?

Is there a trait that you overuse, to the point that is actually does you more harm than good? If you do, what will you now do to rectify the situation?

Velocity Leadership CheckPoint – Your Leadership Assessment Tool

Do you actually know what behaviours you overuse, underuse or have optimised? If not, perhaps the place to start is by completing the Velocity Leadership CheckPoint.

25 behavioural leadership traits, focussed in 5 distinct leadership capabilities – a ‘must know’ for any leader or team looking to drive high performance. If you haven’t completed the CheckPoint, get in touch with us today to arrange an appointment. Read through the comments and feedback from those that have – many say that it has had a profound effect on how they lead and perform within a team.

The Velocity Leadership CheckPoint and Debrief is the starting point for any of the IMLD Executive Coaching, Executive Leadership Coaching or Emerging Leaders Programs.


Executive Coaching Review – Jennifer Dunbar

‘It took me a while to find a leadership coach I wanted to work with, and I feel incredibly lucky to have come across Michael, who has the right mix between personable but professional and supportive but honest feedback. At first I knew there were areas I wanted to work on, but I couldn’t put my finger on what they were. Michael not only helped me identify these areas, but then grounded and rooted me in my own values, strengths and purpose which has helped realign me with my own goals and direction. “


Trust Is The Glue That Builds A Leaders Respect

TRUST – building it, maintaining it, harnessing it – is the glue to being the leader that everyone respects and wants to work for.

This image and thought has been a key part of the marketing for IMLD for the last 9 months – seeking to develop leaders and leadership in businesses so that all members of the business can have a leader that everyone respects and wants to work for. This takes significant effort on behalf of the leader – learning, growing, implementing, and sometimes exploring the parts of their behaviour they would prefer to be overlooked.

For the next 6 weeks we will have wall to wall coverage of 2 major political parties and a host of minor ones vying to lead the Australian people.

I think the same thought applies equally to politics and the Australian election as it does to business. Which party, and which leader, will be most respected (in Australia and on the international stage) and who would you want to be led by? Who will (or has) gained your trust and earned your respect?

What actions or behaviours does it take to gain and build your trust?
What actions or behaviour does it take to break your trust?


Leadership Should Not Assume Common Sense Is Common

Leadership is not common sense. 85% of leaders work on the assumption of ‘common sense’ and assume that their team know what they should do, to what standard they should do it, and when it should be done.

There is no common sense.

The assumption of common sense creates confusion, misunderstanding, and wasted time and effort.

There is no school that teaches team members to intuitively know and understand what their leader wants, give the myriad of differences in language, culture, gender, experience and competence we all possess (to name just a few).

As a leader, if we want something done in a particular way, to a particular standard and at a particular time – we need to tell our team – collectively or individually.

Are you:
?. Getting frustrated that your team turns up to Zoom meetings a few minutes late and feel like it is wasting your time? Have you told them?

?. Every wonder why someone took the initiative to complete a document / task for you last week and didn’t do the same thing again this week? Do you tell them how much you appreciated it or did you assume they knew?

85% of leaders don’t tell their teams what they want – therefore 85% of teams fly blind to their leaders expectations.

If your or your business expect efficiency and effectiveness, then that is a lot of opportunity for things to go wrong. It is a lot of opportunity for wasted time and effort, misunderstood goals, frustration and annoyance.

Does this sound familiar to you?

Here is another statistic. In my experience, after becoming aware that their team is flying blind to expectations, less than 25% of leaders actually do something about it and talk to their team. They make excuses – ‘I don’t have time’ (but you are wasting plenty), ‘What would they think if I say what I want’ (Finally! Now I know why you get annoyed or frustrated at my actions), ”They know what they have to do’ (despite clear evidence that they don’t), ‘It seems so simple’ (Yes it is, if you actually talk about it).

While it might seem simple, there is actually a process to making simple changes in behaviour to get more of what you want and need as a leader. If you want to know about this process, write in the comments or leave a DM. Imagine what it would be like if your team actually did what you asked and what you wanted? Would it make you, your team, your business more efficient and effective?


Does your team fly blind to your expectations? Do you wish you and your team could be more efficient and effective with the time that you have? If so, why not consider IMLD’s Executive Leadership Coaching or a leadership program such as the Emerging Leaders or Executive Leadership Program.


Focussed, personal, confidential, honest and practical – all words that have been used in testimonials to describe the Institute of Management & Leadership Development’s Executive Leadership Coaching. If this sounds like something that could be useful for you or a member of your team, get in touch with us today for a confidential chat about your needs.


Practical, focussed and confidence building – all words that have been used in testimonials to describe the Institute of Management & Leadership Development’s Emerging Leaders program. If this sounds like something that could be useful for you or for members of your team, get in touch with us today for a confidential chat about your needs.