Show Followers You're Human -- Warts and All

In these "empowered" times, followers are hard to find--unless you're a leader who excels at capturing people's hearts, minds, and spirits. How do you do that? One way is to reveal your weaknesses.

No one wants to work with a perfect leader--he or she doesn't appear to need help. So, show you're human, warts and all. But pick a flaw that others consider a strength, such as workaholism. And avoid exposing weaknesses that others see as fatal (such as ignorance of discounted cash flow if you're a finance manager). By revealing weaknesses, you build collaboration and solidarity between you and your followers, while underscoring your approachability.

By Editors  |  September 8, 2008; 8:00 AM ET  | Category:  Management Tip of the Day
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This is the kind of B******T that made me leave corporate America. Every time(and I mean every time) someone (including myself) is asked to list a flaw, it's always workaholism. No one ever says, I'm not very detailed oriented, or I can't multitask. or I've lost interest in my career. It's always I worked to hard and spend to many hours in the office. Just once I'd like to hear someone, anyone say a real flaw, and not a suck up flaw and not face retribution from management.

Posted by: Tom Ryan | September 9, 2008 4:12 PM

Strengths and flaws are actually relative terms. What a colleague or a subordinate sees as a boss's strength at one time will be viewed as weakness at another time. For example, when an issue is analysed at length and decision is postponed for want of additional inputs, subordinate may see a boss as indecisive. When the boss grabs at a proposal and jumps into action, he may be seen as being rash. Eventually, it is the skill with which a taem leader (note:not just 'boss')makes his team see reason that makes him successful or not. Like they say, leadership is not about reaching where you want to reach, it is about taking people to where you want them to reach. One needs vision, understanding and the ability to invoke faith to do this!

Posted by: Ramesh | September 11, 2008 2:06 PM

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