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The importance of improving leadership weaknesses

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read

As an employee, improvement should always be on your mind. This rings true for leaders as well. Editor Shandel McAuliffe joined sister brand The Adviser’s Annie Kane to discuss how and why you should be building on leadership weaknesses.

“It’s getting the fundamentals right. Making sure that you are actually talking to your staff. There’s a tendency if you don’t like management, to then hide away from managing people, and that’s never going to go well,” said Ms McAuliffe.

“Being honest can really take you a long way, and I think you can really learn through that. Trying to put a front on and pretending to be something that you’re not is not going to help. I think co-opt people into your learning journey, and they will help you along the way as well.”


People skills can be just as important as technical skills to the success of an organisation. Bettering your soft skills, such as leadership, communication, and adaptability are crucial to being an effective leader, and without proper leadership a business may suffer.

“People leave managers, not businesses. So, I think that the relationship your line managers have with their employees is really important. I think there’s quite a lot of emphasis on HR to do the people stuff in the business, but really, a lot of it comes down to the people that are directly working with each other on a day-to-day basis,” explained Ms McAuliffe.

Mentorship may be beneficial to someone who is struggling to grasp management responsibilities. A mentor doesn’t have to be a work colleague or even somebody in the same industry. It can be anyone who is able to teach you valuable career lessons.

Ms McAuliffe commented: “It can be a friend or a family member that you just talk to and say, ‘Can you give me some ideas around this?’ That can help as well. Not everyone has the opportunity to outsource everything. So, just try and learn as much as you can about the basics of managing and leading people.”

“Put reminders in your phone, ‘Did I check in with so-and-so today? Did I make it clear to them that if they’re not feeling well, it’s okay to take sick leave?’ These little things that we take for granted, employees may not realise. All of those little things make a difference,” she said.

Connecting with staff may be an issue for some managers. Showing vulnerability can be a useful way to relate to employees and begin a channel for conversation.

Ms McAuliffe said: “It’s the communication piece … It’s about showing a bit of vulnerability yourself, where you feel comfortable doing that. If you feel comfortable sharing with your team a little bit about your own struggles that you might have had at times, it opens up that gateway for people to feel like they can come and talk to you.”

“I think it is important where you can ... to be as human as possible. Because we all have struggles from time to time,” she outlined.

Keeping an eye out for opportunities to support staff will also allow for more chances to connect.

Ms McAuliffe continued: “Watch out for it. So, asking your employee, ‘How are you going?’ And if something is going on in their life, you don’t need to probe, but just letting them know, ‘Look, I’m here. The support is here. Anything that you need from me, if you need time off, if you need to just be able to focus on work, whatever you need, please talk to me.’”

“Opening the door to conversation is one of the biggest things with mental health,” she added.

The transcript of this podcast episode, when quoted above, was slightly edited for publishing purposes. The Adviser’s original podcast article can be found here.




Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.