Focus on Your Strengths

In scores of interviews I have conducted for America’s Healthcare Leaders over the years, I have had the opportunity to ask leaders what they consider to be their top leadership strengths. One particular response has stuck out to me, that of Bruce Brandes, founder and CEO of Lucro.

In this excellent interview, when asked what his top 3 leadership strengths were, Brandes’ listed his strengths as:

  1. Having a self-awareness of what he is good at and what he is not.
  2. Being very good at simplifying complex things.
  3. Recognizing if there is not a third thing, don’t make one up!

Brandes has led a remarkable career, and while I feel his strength list no doubt extends past these three he mentioned, I was impressed by the humility and self-awareness he showed in his interview. He understands who he is and where his strengths lie and he embraces these strengths.

As a leader, it is critically important to have this self-awareness about both your strengths and weaknesses. In my upcoming book, Be An Inspirational Leader: Engage, Inspire, Empower, Jim Wetrich puts it this way:

“The most important thing is that authentic leaders know what they don’t know and aren’t afraid to admit it.”

 It takes a humble confidence to admit your weaknesses, and the leaders who have openly admitted these have impressed me. However, while awareness of weakness is necessary, I would encourage each and every one of you to focus far more on your strengths.

In an episode of the EntreLeadership Podcast, author Marcus Buckingham discussed the importance of focusing on strengths more than weaknesses. He put it this way:

“The best leaders are not well rounded, they’re sharp. Their teams are well rounded. Precisely because they’ve figured out where they’re sharp, and then surrounded themselves with people who are sharp where they are blunt.”

True leadership calls for being aware of yourself while bringing out the best in your team. Know what you are good at and where you struggle, and surround yourself with a team that fills in the gaps. Then focus on and improve your strengths!

Copyright © 2016 by Dan Nielsen –

About the Author

Dan Nielsen
About Dan Nielsen Dan Nielsen is the author of the books Presidential Leadership (2013) and Be An Inspirational Leader (2016). He regularly writes and speaks on the topics of Leadership Excellence and Achieving Greater Success, and is available to deliver keynote presentations or facilitate discussions for your organization. For more info, please visit or email Dan at

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