chess-836784_1920Being a manager and leader means wearing many hats and playing many roles. While this is certainly true and unavoidable, there is a limit to what any one person can do in a day, let alone do well. How can you accurately determine which roles and tasks you do well and should concentrate on, and which roles and tasks would be best handled by others? Try a self-focused SWOT analysis.

A SWOT analysis determines Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats for a business; similarly, the technique can be used for an individual’s own traits as well. This approach can give insight into the best return on your time and reduce frustration.

So how do you go about this? Make a list with four columns:

  1. What I like doing
  2. What I am good at
  3. What I dislike doing,
  4. What I am not good at.

Fill in each column with the tasks and roles you perform. I prefer the columns in this order because it makes it easier to see correlations as you proceed with the exercise.

Next, consider your business and make a separate list with two columns:

  1. Growth opportunities
  2. Threats

Fill in each column and order them from largest to smallest.

Once both lists are complete, compare your own self-assessment of strengths and weaknesses with the assessment of your business’ opportunities and threats. Notice any overlaps or interesting correlations?

Now you have a thought tool to help you determine where you need assistance, where you should focus your time, and how you can best address opportunities and threats. This exercise allows you to step back and look at the bigger picture, and to reexamine your goals and priorities – both personal and professionally. As a leader, your time should ideally be spent doing tasks you enjoy and are good at, and those tasks should address the larger opportunities and threats that your business faces. If you find that your time is being spent on tasks you don’t particularly enjoy or feel that you are good at, and those tasks aren’t addressing large opportunities or threats, perhaps they can be better delegated to someone else.

If you are uncertain of the results of your lists and thinking process, you can ask a trusted employee, spouse or business advisor to review your analysis. A frank and honest assessment is critical to your focus and confidence that you are on the right path.

Have you used an approach such as this? What insights have you gained?