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The Dark Side of Leadership Talent

Woman stressed at desk

Every talent we can find in a leader has a dark side. My friend and colleague, Rich Litvin, recently wrote about this. What follows here is entirely in his words, but it reflects the work I do with clients on a daily basis:

“Here are 9 strengths I see in highly successful people, along with their dark side. Which do you resonate with the most?

1. You’re the Idealist: you want everything to be perfect

That’s an asset. People admire your high standards. Everything matters.

But there’s a dark side to trying to get everything right.

Most people have no idea how deeply self-critical you are. You hold back from taking action until things are 100% perfect. So you never get to achieve at the level you are truly capable.

2. You’re the Helper: you love to take care of others

That’s an asset. You’re empathetic and caring. People admire your generosity at giving to others.

But there’s a dark side to constantly taking care of others.

Most people have no idea just how hard it is for you to accept the help you need to accomplish something bigger. The problem you face is that nothing truly great was ever accomplished without support.

3. You’re the Achiever: you are ambitious and driven

You’re a natural performer, whether on stage or in the boardroom.

That’s an asset. Success is in your DNA.

But there’s a dark side to relentlessly focusing on success.

Most people have no idea that underneath your success, you’re exhausted. They have no idea that you’re never satisfied with your own success because there’s always a next level to get to. Plus, you never feel truly appreciated.

4. You’re the Individualist: you are highly creative

People admire you for your emotional honesty and your unique way of showing up in the world.

That’s an asset. You are tapped into levels of creativity deeper than most.

But there’s a dark side to being so creative. Most people have no idea that you can get so overwhelmed by your own feelings that you can find it almost impossible to take action.

5. You’re the Investigator: you are relentless in your pursuit of knowledge

That’s an asset. You are an expert in your field.

But there’s a dark side to being so cerebral. Most people have no idea how isolated you can feel.

They have no idea that you can spend so much time researching and studying life, that it feels like you never truly get to live it.

6. You’re the Loyalist: you are immensely loyal, trustworthy and responsible

You are an expert at scanning the horizon for danger. That’s an asset. You see problems before they even occur.

But the dark side of your gift is that most people have no idea you’re so good at scanning for danger that you constantly run on adrenaline.

You want to feel secure and supported by others but you can find yourself testing people’s attitudes, in order to fight against your inner anxiety and insecurity.

7. You’re the Enthusiast: you’re an adventurer, constantly seeking out new experiences

You’re fun-loving and optimistic and you’re always busy. That’s an asset.

But there’s a dark side to your ability to create so many opportunities.

Most people have no idea that it’s hard not to say yes to all of them. You’re often spread so thin that it’s hard to make the impact you really want to make.

8. You’re the Challenger: you are powerful, self-confident and decisive

You’re not afraid of confrontation when needed. That’s an asset.

But there’s a dark side to your ability to save the day. Your team rarely takes action without consulting you, first.

Plus, you feel most alive when facing a challenge and people have no idea that you unconsciously create new ones, just to solve them.

9. You’re the Peacemaker: you are great at reducing conflict

You are accepting, trusting, and stable. That’s an asset. You are talented at bringing people together.

But there’s a dark side to your ability to solve conflict.

Most people have no idea that your love of harmony means you sometimes go along with other people’s wishes, or say “yes” to things you do not really want to do.”

Which of the above resonates with you the most? What’s your biggest gift? And what’s it’s dark side?

Let me help you use your talents and steer you away from your dark side so you can keep REACHING


Let’s leverage your leadership gifts!

Book a no-obligation call with me today.

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