When a basketball player attempts to do too much on the court, the person is called a “ball hog” or chided for playing “hero ball.” Being a ball hog looks like not trusting your teammates, taking impossible shots instead of giving the ball to a teammate for a much easier one, and insisting that everything depends on your greatness. Ball hogs think they are great at everything all of the time. Too many leaders play hero ball—insisting that everything must go through them. When a leader is a ball hog, the leader fails to see his/her weaknesses and fails to trust the competence of others. Only foolish leaders think they are omni-competent. Wise leaders recognize their weaknesses. Here are three reasons why it is wise for leaders to be highly self-aware about their own weaknesses.
1. So you can know where to trust others
The beauty of serving on a team with other leaders is the collective competence of the team. Where you are weak, others are likely strong. By knowing your leadership weaknesses, you know where to trust others. A great leader fosters an environment where other leaders can lead in their strengths.
2. So you can know what you should learn
While it is wise to trust others to lead in areas that are not your strongest or your area of focus, wise leaders still seek to develop a minimum level of competence in their weaknesses. If a weakness isn’t pulled up to an acceptable threshold of competence, the weakness is a debilitating one that will rob the leader of credibility.
3. So you can spend most of your time in your strengths
A wise leader recognizes his/her weaknesses, so the majority of time and energy can be deployed towards his/her strengths. If you don’t know what your weaknesses are, you run the risk of spending significant time outside your area of strength.
You aren’t great at everything. The more quickly you recognize and embrace that reality, the better you serve your team and all those you are leading.