When do strengths become weaknesses?

During the last month, I have presented the characteristics of effective leadership.  These characteristics define an effective leader, however it doesn’t define whether a leader has aspirations for evil or noble outcomes.  Hitler was a very effective leader.  However, I don’t believe Hitler was a great leader.  But let’s table that discussion for now…


The converse principle of effective leadership is also important.  What are the causes of
ineffective leadership?

If the characteristics of effective leadership are indeed:

  • Knowledge
  • Courage
  • Resilience
  • Ambition
  • Foresight

…then ineffective leadership would seem to occur when these strengths are taken to an extreme. 

(In an earlier post I asked you to tell me why our goldfish friend was jumping.  You had some really great reasons.  In the above picture, this fish may be jumping because he’s a creative thinker–he has courage or ambition.  But his strength may prove to be a weakness if that cat catches him.  Those strong characteristics may be his undoing…)


Let me make my point in another way…. Mary has worked for Dr. Jones for 25 years.  Mary exhibits
resiliency— that is a character strength we examined in an earlier post.  Mary is probably a competent, hard-working individual.  She may get along with others, and she’s most likely reliable and intelligent.


However, if Mary no longer brings ideas to the table; if Mary refuses to consider change because of tradition or “that’s the way we’ve always done it”; then her resiliency has actually become dead weight. 


If there is no forward progress, then there is stagnation.  Stagnation is not a strength, but clearly a weakness.

Resiliency(strength)taken to an extreme level = stagnation(weakness)

Strengths taken to an extreme become weaknesses.

Does this principle make sense to you?  

Do you agree with me?  

Do you disagree?

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