Be honest: is there something wrong with you?
If you answered “no” just now, you’re either being dishonest… or you’re the only perfect person on the planet.
(In which case you have my sympathy for having to put up with the rest of us)
Of course, nobody’s perfect. A more interesting question would be: why does everyone want to *seem* like they are?
I believe that anyone, leader or not, shouldn’t hesitate to admit (and own up to) their shortcomings. In fact, they might want to wear them like a badge of honor, for all the world to see.
Thing is, what you think of as your flaw could in reality be your asset.
Let me elaborate on that…
In business and in life, being different pays off, for two reasons.
>>> Your weirdness marks you as different from your colleagues, even when you’re not actively trying to stand out. This makes it easier for you to be seen and get promoted.
>>> You may find that a “weakness” in one area of life becomes your strength in a completely different one. That you’re able to achieve something “regular” people can’t do. It can have far-reaching impact on your personal and professional life.
Perhaps one of my favorite real-life examples has to do with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s acting career, of all things.
Back when Arnold started out in Hollywood, he had two traits that instantly marked him as unfit for 99% of movie parts: a distinctive Austrian accent and an imposing physique.
If he ever decided to audition for roles, those “shortcomings” would make his chances to land *any* role, even a minor one, very slim.
Arnold knew that, so he never auditioned.
Instead, he specifically looked for character parts that called for big, strong men to play them.
He knew the competition for those roles would be almost non-existent. Besides, what other actor could compete with Arnold in terms of sheer physical presence?
Dozens of commercially successful movies later, you can see that Arnold made the right call.
He chose to embrace his faults, pivot his acting career around them, and it paid off in a big way.
You might be saying, “Tabitha, that’s a great story, but how does any of this apply to my leadership?”
That’s easy: stop hiding the fact that you’re different. Bask in your weirdness.
Your colleagues may forget the name of your significant other, but they will forever remember that you’re amazing at lighting the conference room up with your humor. Or that your OCD behavior has saved their butts several times. Or that knowing how quiet you are, when you do speak up, they really want to hear what you have to say.
In fact, your colleagues may choose to stick with you *because* of your perceived flaws. It’s much easier to follow the advice of someone fallible, as opposed to somebody who seems perfect and never wrong about anything.
My point is, there’s little point in hiding your flaws from your colleagues, who will find out sooner or later anyway.
Instead, you should “patent” your faults, and wear them like your business attire. Turn them into a part of your branding. That way, nobody can ever use them against you, but *you* can use them as part of your narrative, as a means to differentiate yourself.
If you would like more tips on how to use your strengths to influence others, then download my free Magnetic Influence Litmus Test where I share 4 simple questions you can ask yourself to predict your ability to influence, and how to gain that influence.