Growing At Your Edges

If you’re perfect, disregard this.

All leaders have “growing edges.”  That’s a euphemism for personal challenges.  Which in turn is a euphemism for shortcomings, deficiencies, weaknesses, failings, limitations, flaws, or Achilles’ heels.

What are you doing about yours?

There is at least one area of leadership (and possibly as  many as the synonyms above), in which you are not what you could be. Are you ignoring it?  Denying it?  Making excuses for it?  Stop that!

When you’re on your death bed, what excuse will you use for not becoming the leader you could be? Too busy, perhaps?  Will you buy that, as you lie there dying?

You’re not dying now (I hope), so … do you have the courage to identify, and face, your growing edge?  Do you have the courage to live into your highest potential?

It does take courage.  There’s an old New Yorker cartoon depicting a boardroom table surrounded by ostriches.  The caption: “The motion has been made and seconded to bury our heads in the sand.”  That action item often seems a lot easier to take.

But just in case life with your head buried in the sand isn’t fulfilling enough for you …


  1. Take 5 minutes to reflect on which area of your own leadership most needs your attention — especially long term.
  2. Instigate a 360o assessment on yourself — an anonymous (if necessary) written survey of your leadership qualities, filled out by your peers, direct reports, and supervisor(s).  See Appendix A in our book, The Leadership Platform, for a comprehensive sample 360.  And feel free to use it.
  3. Then, based on the information you got in (1) and (2) above, decide what actions to take to focus concerted attention on — and strengthen — the weakest areas noted.  Then schedule time to undertake those actions.  And share these intentions with a trusted other or two, for accountability.

About the Author

Steve Motenko
Steve Motenko is an executive coach, leadership trainer, and co-host of The Boss Show, a weekly podcast on workplace dynamics. Steve and his Boss Show co-host, Jim Hessler, are co-authors of Land On Your Feet, Not On Your Face: A Guide to Building Your Leadership Platform. Steve lives on Whidbey Island, Washington, with his wife and dog, whom he loves, and a cat he tolerates usually pretty well.

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