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*Inspired by Andy Stanley


*The best leaders are good at everything

*The best leaders focus on weaknesses & make them strengths

These are 2 fairly common myths about leadership.  How did you answer?  At first glance, these seem to both be true.  At closer examination, however, the best leaders actually spend more time on the things that bring the most value by using their core competencies.  Focusing on weakness to bring it up to mediocre doesn't do anybody any good & can be personally demotivating.  We can only be effective through our strengths.

Think about it this way...

What's your favorite pitcher's batting average?  Silly question, right?  They aren't there to hit for a high batting average they're there to strike people out.  The best way they can help the team is be effective at their core strength.  The secret to concentration is elimination.


*The less you do the more you accomplish

*The less you do the more you enable others to accomplish

When you think back to the best leaders you've worked with, my guess is that you'll find they weren't well rounded.  They played to their strengths.  They might have been the authority in many areas due to experience or position but they absolutely knew their biggest value add to the organization.  Jobs at work aren't like taking out the trash at home.  Knowledge work is more specialized, so...

What do you do that's effortless?

In what areas do others see you as most valuable?

What areas energize you?

What are you drawn to? 


While there are many benefits to these concepts let's break them down to personal & organization.  The primary personal benefits are that you get to stay in your "sweet spot" while you establish & maintain a manageable pace.  You're bringing value everyday for the long haul.  The primary benefits to the company are that it encourages the organization to be well-rounded by embracing everyone's strengths on the team.  In this way the organization becomes stronger as it magnifies the strengths of its individuals in every position instead of reflecting the weaknesses.

*Picture courtesy of QuotesGram


Our weaknesses can become someone else's opportunity to shine if we have the courage to let go of the things we shouldn't be doing.  What do you need to stop doing?  This is not avoiding "taking out the trash" like we all must do, this is creating benefit for other members & making the team stronger.  If everyone on your team made a "to-don't" list my guess is that most of the critical tasks would be covered by team strengths.  Focusing on strengths with this approach takes the pressure off delegating weakness.  Here's a short article to help!

Do What Only You Can Do

Those great leaders you've worked with more than likely spent time with you, trained you & advocated for you.  They had time to do this because they work(ed) inside their strengths.  They were able to multiply the efforts of others by encouraging them to do the same.  Getting necessary things done through & with others is a critical part of effective leadership.  Lean into your strengths & discover what it feels like to utilize your superpower gifts!


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The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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