The Gift of Limitations

In working with leaders, one of the challenges I see that often gets in their way is their limitations. Too many leaders, myself included, struggle with accepting our limitations. As a result, limitations end up inhibiting our personal development and progress within an organization.

When leaders do not see and accept their limitations (which we all have), they drive away or frustrate the people who are talented in those very areas; others know they can do better if given an opportunity. Perhaps you know how to read a spreadsheet, but you may not be talented in accounting. Just because you are the leader does not mean that the accounting system must be done exactly as you remember (or not) from your college accounting course – which may have been a decade (or more) ago!

Sometimes as leaders we are called to lead in areas of our limitations; perhaps no one else is available to lead in that area at the time. Even so, you should be leading in that area with the aim of passing it on as soon as possible to someone who can do a better job and actually enjoys doing it.

Working in our limitations is energy-draining. Do you want to know if something you are doing is within your strengths or limitation? Pay attention to how you feel doing it. Does it energize you or leave you feeling drained? Things within our strengths normally energize us, and things within our limitations will leave us feeling drained. This is not the same as feeling tired after working hard at something you enjoy and are good at doing!

Some of us spend so much time trying to improve and work on our limitations that we fail to produce work of excellence in areas of our strengths. Then, when we come to do things where we are naturally gifted – our strengths – we have very little energy or time to produce excellent results.

If you focus on your limitations, you may become a well-rounded leader, but you are not likely to excel. Leaders who stand out are leaders who have recognized their strengths and limitations, and have delegated things in their limitations so they can focus on their strengths to produce excellent results.

If you are not clear on your strengths and limitations, several tools are available to help you get clarity in this area of your leadership. While there are literally hundreds of assessments designed specifically for this purpose, I want to suggest three that I have found very helpful to me and for clients I coach:

These are all very good assessments tools designed to help you discover your strengths and limitations. With the help of a coach you can discover what your calling is in your specific area of leadership. Too many leaders spend too much time floundering in areas of their limitations while neglecting their strengths and not fulfilling the reasons for which they were called to lead.

Your limitations are a gift when you recognize them and decide that they are not where you should be spending your time and energy. Instead, delegate those responsibilities as quickly as you can and get back to focusing on the sweet spot of your leadership. Your sweet spot of leadership is your calling that is designed to flow through your strengths.

If asked to identify your strengths and limitations as a leader, could you?

Are you leading from your strengths or mired in your limitations?

If you would like help in achieving your goals as a leader or in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.