If you want to become a better leader, consider the concept of the limiting factor. Your limiting factor is the variable that prevents you from being better. I first heard of the concept of the limiting factor when reading about strength training. Your legs may be strong enough to lift a certain amount of weight, but if your back cannot handle the load, you won’t be able to lift it. Your upper body strength may be at a certain level, but if your grip strength isn’t there, you also won’t be able to lift a weight at your potential.
Another simple example is triathlons: I don’t participate in triathlons, but if I did, I can assure you that swimming would be my limiting factor. Thus, if I wanted to improve my triathlon performance, there would be diminishing returns if I worked on my running speed, while taking a swimming lesson would improve my performance dramatically.
Knowing your limiting factor can help you figure out where you fall short, and where investments in developing a skill will pay off the most. Often times, we stumble with personal development efforts because we are trying to do too much. As the saying goes, “he who chases two bunnies catches neither.” And on top of our hectic day-to-day schedule, this leads to burnout or disinterest in making a change in the first place.
The solution to this is to work on one limiting factor at a time. Personal change works best when you can focus 100% on one habit. So focus on what will have the most impact. Once you tackle it, you can move on to the next challenge. Chances are, simplifying your leadership abilities in this way will have a dramatic impact on your achieving your goals.