Assertiveness: The Meekest and Mightiest Make the Worst LeadersBalance. Easy to understand, tough to practice.
The overuse of strength creates a weakness. Every strength has a point where it becomes a liability. Maturity and self-control help to rein in the excesses of our personality.
Not surprisingly, recent research by Stanford professor Frank Flynn has found that the greatest identifiable trait that can hold someone back from becoming a great leader is being too assertive—or not assertive enough. In other words, assertiveness that is out of balance.
In the Stanford Graduate School of Business News, Marguerite Rigoglioso reports:
Analyzing three years’ worth of written and survey data on students, as well as students’ assessments of their own former bosses, Flynn and Ames found that excessive or inadequate assertiveness was the No. 1 issue listed in the weakness column when it came to evaluating individuals’ leadership potential. “It was mentioned twice as frequently as any other issue. It appeared as a clear factor in weakness comments more than lack of intelligence, conscientiousness, and charisma combined,” Flynn says. Specifically, what the researchers found was essentially an “inverted U” between the ratings of a person’s assertiveness and his or her leadership ability: Up to a certain point it was positively associated, but then it went back down.
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