If there’s one universal truth that we’re confident in, it’s the fact that too much of a good thing will always lead to a bad thing.
Here’s an example: say you get home after a long, hard day of work, and you put on some classical music to de-stress.
If you’re doing this in a responsible way and not cranking the volume up too much, that’s perfectly fine. But if you blast your music to the point where your neighbours get bothered by it, that’s when conflict may arise.
In the world of leadership and management, the same thing goes.
We all have our own strengths that we bring to the table. If we exercise these strengths in the right way, it will lead to a favourable outcome. But if we overplay our strengths, this weakens our relationships, and triggers conflict.
What exactly does “overplaying” a strength mean?
When you’re overplaying a strength, this basically means that you’re using your strength in a way that’s excessive.
In the Core Strengths® community, we refer to this as Overdone Strengths.
For example, if your strength is being analytical and detail-oriented, and you overdo that strength, it can come off as obsessiveness or “nit picking”. As such, it can be counter-productive, negatively impacting how a leader manages their team.
Now, you might think that most competent leaders should be able to strike a balance and avoid overplaying their strengths.
That said, we are all human — and we all have our blind spots. In addition, the higher up in the ranks you are, the less likely your colleagues or team members will call you out on your behaviour (a huge problem in itself).
How overplaying your strengths can lead to conflict
Once you train yourself to spot instances where you (or your fellow leaders) are overplaying their strengths, you’ll realize that these are breeding grounds for conflict.
For instance, say your strength is being helpful and supportive of your employees.
If you show the right amount of care and concern, everyone’s happy. But if you start hovering over your employees, ready to dish out advice at every turn, then you can bet that these employees will start feeling smothered and stifled.
Here’s another example: Let’s say that one of your top strengths is being ambitious.
Again, if you apply your strength in the right way, this works out nicely. But if you take things to the extreme, and you strive towards your goals at all costs without compassion for the team members around you, they may come to see you as a ruthless and heartless leader.
Obviously, this isn’t ideal — even if your team members don’t say anything, they might start resenting you internally, and this will definitely cause conflict further down the road.
Conflict results in companies losing billions annually
According to a study on workplace conflict, US employees spend an average of 2.8 hours per week dealing with conflict.
Multiply that by the average hourly wage, and this amounts to approximately $359 billion that companies lose out on, every year.
Don’t want your company to lose hours of precious time to unnecessary conflict? Then you’ll have to make sure that you and your team are self-aware, and not overplaying your strengths.
What’s your biggest strengths? How might overplaying these strengths cause conflict in your team? Let us know in the comments below!