Love and Loathing in Leadership – (Apologies to Hunter S Thompson)

How many times have you been asked to consider your strengths and weaknesses?

I’ve been asked to self-disclose my weaknesses about a million times. As one of my main weakness is to admit fault, it was always a less than productive exercise.

Worse, it seems that no one cares or worries about strengths, the focus switches to weaknesses.

Surely there is a healthier and more productive way of looking what a person competencies.

Try Love and Loathe Instead

Recently I heard Marcus Buckingham describe how you can change your perspective on strengths and weaknesses to love and hate.

Buckingham describes the things you love as those that give you strength and creates a passion for any project. Invest your energies here, do the things you love

Those tasks you loathe will suck energy and enthusiasm and turn even the most straightforward task into difficult work.

How to change your perspective?

  1. Take a piece of paper, flip chart or white-board
  2. Divide a sheet of paper in half with a vertical line
  3. Title each side ‘Love’ and ‘Loathe.’
  4. Start listing the parts of your work that you love under ‘Love.’ Repeat for the tasks you ‘Loath.’

Once you separate the tasks, revel and celebrate the things you love doing.

Then, focus on the loathe list. Are there tasks there that you can delegate or bring the intellectual horsepower of your team to bear on it.

If you can’t avoid those ugly tasks, here are a few ways to move through it.

Leverage Your Loathsome Tasks Another Goal

You can’t put lipstick on a pig. Trying to transform an ugly task into a beautiful activity won’t help. But can you push through by using other goals as leverage? Why did you start this project in the first place and how does this activity fits into helping you succeed?

Can you bring some of that motivation to finish an ugly task? It is essential to remind yourself of your goals continually, and why they are essential.

Those reminders are often necessary to push through the tasks that don’t excite you. 

Read about setting priorities

Don’t Do the Work at All 

The best solution is not to do the work you don’t enjoy. This may sound ridiculous, but there are ways you can avoid the stuff that doesn’t interest you:

  1. Outsource or delegate it to someone who enjoys that type of work.
  2. By asking ‘Is it necessary?’ you may be able to eliminate it from your project.
  3. Find a better way to do it. Are there tech solutions or tricks to shortcut boring into intriguing.

Read more about delegating

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, you should try to minimize the amount of work you need to do, but don’t enjoy.

That said, it is called work and not a hobby. Productivity shouldn’t be about pushing through the tasks you loathe; it should be about enjoying work you love.