What is it about you that someone doesn’t know or wouldn’t consider a strength that could be your “Secret Weapon”?

With all the leadership models in books and training and corporate competency frameworks, it’s a wonder we ever think clearly about who we really are. Stack up the capabilities for great leadership; and, we all come up short. So, it takes real self-awareness and self-appreciation to give some power to the natural ways we are successful.

I often work with leaders who are trying to measure up and stretch out.  Sometimes, they even feel a bit of a misfit in their organization (not a bad thing, just uncomfortable or distracting). My job is to help look carefully at what capability to accentuate and what new capabilities to learn or adopt. And, often I find myself saying, “that’s not just a way you are different, it’s your SECRET WEAPON!”

A secret weapon is some aspect, skill, or attribute that gives you a strategic advantage without being seen as such. It’s secret not because people don’t see it, but because they don’t see it as an advantage. They might even see your secret as non-threatening or as a weakness. Here are some examples of my client’s secret weapons:

  • No personal agenda—it’s business first—that opens many doors through real trust.
  • Nice, collaborative, with a touch of brilliance— a pathway to gently challenge the status quo.
  • Deep desire to win big, no matter what the challenge—hurtling barrier after barrier.
  • Really understanding people and building quiet coalitions to set the stage for key long-term results.
  • Truly believing “it” can be done and having the patience to let the results unfold.
  • Seeing the underlying process, good and bad, and creating new approaches.

The key here is that an unacknowledged capability or attribute seems at odds with the culture or not that special or not a typical strength can actually be a big advantage. Especially if it’s a part of your most natural way of timing and acting. Each person I was thinking of in the examples above are now much more consciously using that secret weapon to the good of their results.

What’s your secret weapon? Are you using it to your advantage?