Thatcher’s Greatest Strength Was Her Greatest Weakness

Posted April 17th, 2013 in Fear Your Strengths

Margaret Thatcher will be remembered as much for her leadership style as for her polarizing politics – in fact, the two are almost identical. The essence of Thatcher’s leadership was her steadfast, tenacious, and determined style which is more often associated with revolutionaries than conservatives. Nonetheless, as the head of the Conservative party, she opposed the status quo and stuck to her guns in confronting opposition head on. It is precisely those qualities that made her the most influential British politician since Winston Churchill.

However, just as we’ve found in our decades of experience consulting to senior leaders – including CEO’s of major companies – Thatcher’s greatest strengths were also her biggest weaknesses. This raises a choice every leader must make, even if most don’t give it much thought:  keep playing to strength and risk overdoing it or diversify and build up other capabilities where the odds of success are uncertain?

Read more in Bob and Rob’s latest post on HBR blog network.