Our Strengths and Vulnerabilities Come Packaged with our Family Ties

Our Strengths and Vulnerabilities Come Packaged with our Family Ties

Fact:

Each of us has strengths and vulnerabilities that we bring to bear in our role as leaders.

Some strengths and vulnerabilities develop as we move through life’s experiences, and others are inherited from our family, most immediately the family we grew up in, but also in a real way from the generations that came before our family of origin. They’re part of the “package” of who we are!

Most of the strengths and vulnerabilities that we inherit are so deeply ingrained in us that they operate beneath our conscious awareness. And because we generally are not consciously aware of them, these ingrained strengths and vulnerabilities drive behaviors that are “automatic”. They just “show up” without our needing to think about them at all! Another characteristic of these automatic patterns is that under stress they tend to show up more vividly and in more extreme forms.

Here are examples of each:

  • Strength: “I am (…) and under stress I am even more (…)”
    • Confident
    • Decisive
    • Adventuresome
  • Vulnerability: “I am (…) and under stress I am even more (…)”
    • Defensive
    • Argumentative
    • Conflict-avoidant

Action:

Be curious about the reactive behaviors within yourself, in others, and in the emotional systems of which you Because our inherited strengths and vulnerabilities are so much a part of who we are, they shape our outlook on life as well as guide our actions. Sometimes our innate strengths act as a wonderful resource we can call upon whenever needed. But other times our vulnerabilities can land us in needless trouble, especially under stress when they tend to push us, unaware, toward extreme behaviors. Becoming more self-aware of both has real benefits. Knowing what we are good at allows us to deploy a strength in a more deliberate and strategic manner. And being aware of a vulnerability can help us to be more thoughtful and less “automatic” when our tendency is toward a risky or even misplaced behavior, especially in stressful situations.

Try It:

 

Observe, Reflect on, and Manage Your Inherited Strengths

  • Ask yourself, “When stressed…”
    • What strengths am I able to call upon in this situation?
    • How can I be very intentional about using these strengths for success?

Observe, Reflect on, and Manage Your Inherited Vulnerabilities

  • Ask yourself, “When stressed…”
    • What vulnerability is most easily triggered?
    • How can I minimize the reactive behaviors that typically surface as part of this vulnerability?