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Footprints of Great Leaders: Strengths

June 15, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 206

I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot: together we can do great things. Mother Theresa

Great leaders leave indelible footprints in the passage of time, often spanning generations. Unmistakable evidence, markers of where they have been.

Regardless of when, and where they walk, great men and women leave their footprints, revealing with clarity their spirit, courage and the direction they were going, along with encouragement to follow in their footsteps.

Our individual strengths are indeed just that: our strengths, which should not be confused with our often multiple weaknesses, and certainly not be lost, hidden or overwhelmed by these.

For instance, the worlds best hammer cannot match the performance of the worlds worst screwdriver when it comes to fitness for purpose, but by virtue of its own unique qualities it can certainly compliment that screwdriver, while adding to the versatility, capability and performance of the toolkit as a whole.

The reason being that a hammer is no more a screwdriver than I am a doctor or an airline pilot, which I am not. Each tool is designed and built to be different, as are our expectations of it in fulfilling a task.

Likewise, each of us have different DNA: we are wired up to be different, to have different strengths and weaknesses.

Not better or worse, just different.

Because of this, we should never, ever feel inadequate because we lack any given strength or skill-set, so long as we are willing to work alongside another who has that requisite skill for a particular task, and are prepared to help them in any way we can.

We should rather be willing to share some space in the toolkit of life, and be both available when needed, and ready step back to allow another to perform when they are better suited to the task.

Without doubt, when we out-work our life-skills to compliment those of others, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

In this context, ability without availability is a recipe for mediocrity, wasted time and lost potential. None of us can ever hope to do everything, but we can all be available to do something when opportunities present themselves.

Opportunities do come, frequently without warning and their outcomes will almost always depend on our willingness to use what we have in our hand, at the right time: those skills and strengths that define us as individuals.

These individual strengths will only ever give us the capability to excel at what is our natural forte. However, when our strengths are used in concert with the complimentary strengths of others, much greater things are possible. Even the impossible!

For example, a chisel will never be effective unless used in conjunction with a hammer, and great buildings are always built by combining the skills of great stonemasons, plasterers, electricians, painters and others: a skilled and complimentary team each performing what they are best at.

Further, logic will confirm that the even the best of these strengths and talents will not deliver excellence unless they are actually used where the need arises.

You know: right place, right time.

To deliver greatness, each one of us should ensure that our natural strengths are applied in a co-operative, collaborative environment, where the strengths of others are recognized and harnessed for the greater benefit.

Because greatness, and great outcomes are rarely achieved alone. This means that prejudice, discrimination or any other restraining influence should be discarded when it comes to contributing to a collective project, process or outcome.

Just as a good tradesman will not be pre-occupied with the colour, age or manufacturer of any functional tool placed in their hand, neither should we demonstrate reluctance in working productively with those who serve alongside us.

The footprints of great leaders, who saw into the future and spanned generations, who have previously travelled our paths will often reveal simply, yet profoundly, how each of us are capable of contributing to, and delivering greatness: by doing what we are individually best at, whilst in concert with others who can do well those things that we may not be able to do at all.

Making the impossible, possible.

Neil Findlay is an active writer and public speaker, and serves as a director or chair of multiple corporate and not-for-profit boards. For further information view his website at

Source: EzineArticles
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