Do my strengths make me a good leader?

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Earlier this year, I told Wai Jia that I am not sure what my strengths are. A friend recommended I to take the Clifton StrengthsFinder.

I’ve taken various personality tests before and those tests didn’t reveal anything surprising about me. However, in this test I felt God gave me insight into what it means to be a leader.

Whether it is in the Church or the world, leaders are highly sought out. If you want to read books on leadership, there are plenty to choose from.

Certain characteristics make a leader. Or so we are told to believe. This happens in society or in the Church.

You need to be:

  • a visionary
  • ambitious
  • Alpha-Male
  • charismatic (influncer)
  • think strategically
  • competitive
  • Passionate

And to be honest, I don’t believe I have any of these characteristics.

So what does that mean, does it mean I am a bad leader?

If you believe leaders are based on specific characteristics, then it is true. Then I can continue down the path of telling myself, “Cliff, you will never be a good leader. You do not have any traits that make you a good leader.”

Here is my Clifton StrengthsFinder result:

I am surprised to see most of my top ten strengths are in relationship building. The other top 10 traits are executing.

I am not surprised because of my experience in teams; I focus more on keeping a good relationship than getting things done. It ain’t like I don’t care about productivity. Rather, I value relationships more than getting results.

Notice, the strengths which I (or we) assume are leadership traits such as positivity, futuristic, ideation, competition, woo, or achiever, are so low in my list.

So what should I do?

Well, there are few things to consider.

One is to accept that I am a bad leader and therefore don’t be a leader.

Two, try to work on my weakness. Learn to ‘woo’ others 😀

Third, just ignore these test and move on with life.

I realized God is showing me something. He is showing me that’s how He shaped me. I can’t change these strengths and no point in doing so. It is like a 200-pound quarterback trying to try to be a cyclist in a Tour de France. You can learn to ride a road bike but there is no way you can climb up mountains as fast as those guys who have high VO max (a measurement of how good you are in aerobic activity) and can climb like a mountain goat.

In short, why focus on my weakness when I can focus on the strengths God has given me?

So does these characteristics make me a bad leader? Today, I realized that it is not. This is what teamwork so fascinating. How about finding others to compensate for my weaknesses? Sure, I may not be futuristic or visionary. Who cares. Find someone who is and work together. We can leverage each other stregnths.

I often see my strengths as weaknesses. Take harmony, for example. I often see this as just a cop-out way to please others (which I admit I have done before at the expense of myself). Now I see it the other way around. Yes, I should not be a people pleaser. That is not a good thing. But there is value, high value in the Kingdom of God, as someone who can bring conflicting people not just to work together but FELLOWSHIP together. WOW!

Side note: In many Epistles, Paul stated over and over again the importance of accepting and loving one another. For example, see Romans 14, 1 Corinthians 13-14, 1 Corinthians 1:10, Philippians 1:27. Or take a look at Jesus and His disciples. Simon the Zealot and Levi, the tax collector, should be knifing each other. Instead, they gathered together in peace (Acts 1:13).

Now, does this mean I will be a leader? I realized that it is not whether I want to be a leader or not. It is all up to God’s will.

It is God who raises leaders. It is not something that I am trying to ‘sell’ or promote myself. But I am excited to see how I can develop these strengths to be a better leader or a team player.

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