Owning Your Shortcomings: A Superpower

Today I had independent conversations with two entrepreneurs at different stages of their journeys. One just exited his second company and is beginning to think about what problem he wants to solve next. The other is still building his first company. Both of them mentioned that they’d spent considerable time identifying what they need in an early core team and recruiting people who fit those criteria.

I went a bit deeper, and both revealed gaps in their abilities or experiences that could prevent them from being successful. They’re both smart, super talented, and successful—and very self-aware and upfront about their limitations.

No one is good at everything. We all have shortcomings. But not everyone will admit to them. That’s too bad because being transparent about shortcomings can actually help founders. Sounds counterintuitive, I know. Many founders think they have to be great at everything—superhuman, practically—but that’s not realistic or sustainable. Acknowledging their shortcomings can help them understand what gaps they need to fill to round out their team. Recruiting efforts can be more focused and attract candidates who know what they’re good at. And it supports a culture of teamwork—people pay attention to what the leader does and follow suit.

Founders who want to build great businesses should consider being transparent about their shortcomings. It’s a great way to turn something that could be perceived as a negative into a superpower that can propel you to new heights.