I played sports in high school. I was a multi-sport athlete because I went to a small school and that’s what you did.
Possibly my favorite sport was tennis. I was not very good, but I was decent. My doubles partner and I had a unique style, and one that frustrated good players–we lobbed the tennis ball.
But more than that, I played the baseline and my partner played the net. I was 6’4″ at the time, and my partner was somewhere around 5’8″. Picture that for a moment. You see two guys walk onto the court, one tall and the other short, and then they take the opposite spots. It doesn’t make sense, until it makes sense.
I was too slow to play at the net. My reaction time was often delayed just enough that I could not respond quickly enough. On the baseline, however, I was surgical. I could lob a tennis ball with a foot of my aim, and had patience for days.
Now, we didn’t win the state title or even get close, but boy did we have fun and frustrate some people along the way, all because we knew our strengths.
The same is true in leadership. There are certain things that make you unique. The way you approach situations and scenarios is different from those around you, and that’s great. But, you need to know what those strengths are.
Self awareness makes us a better leader. When we are able to be honest with ourselves about what makes us unique, we are better able to understand why certain people seem to clash with us, and hopefully have a little more compassion in those clashes.
What makes you unique? What mindset do you have about things that drives people around you crazy? Who do you need to cut some slack today in an effort to do what is necessary to fully leverage your leadership influence?