Finding your sweet spot

Richard Sage
2 min readJun 30, 2023

People often talk about leadership and the concept of the Peter Principle, that people get promoted to the point of their own incompetence. I think there’s probably some truth in that. But equally, I think often when that incompetence arises or is seen, it’s not to do with the person having attained a level in the hierarchy that is beyond them, its often because that person is not operating in their sweet spot.

I think understanding what your sweet spot is as a leader is really important. I’ve seen leaders display what could be described as incompetence, because they’re operating outside of their sweet spot. They’re operating in an area where they are not competent.

So, if identifying your sweet spot is important so that you maintain your competence, how do you define it?

One way is simply looking at your past performance and reflecting on that. Reflecting on the times where you have demonstrated at least competence or even extreme competence/mastery.

So, for me, when I look back at my career, there are times where I definitely have strayed into an area of lack of competence. But equally, there are times where I feel like I’ve been extremely competent. As I look at my leadership journey, I know that there are things that are in my tool bag that I can do, that I can bring to a wide variety of organisations, but I’m really hitting my sweet spot when i’m working within certain types of organisation, with certain types of context and drivers.

I reckon i could do good work in most organisations, however i also know that I can do great within a subset of those, because that is where my sweet spot is.

The thing to recognise is that our sweet spot can change, but it will require a period where our performance may be sub-optimal.

I think its also important to recognise that the sweet spot is a two way thing. its not just about how effective i can be for an organisation, equally important is that the organisation is giving us the things we need, whether thats learning, progression, excitement or nourishment.

Do you have a sweet spot? How would you define it? let me know on:

https://twitter.com/sage_re

or

Originally published at https://www.richardsage.com on June 30, 2023.

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Richard Sage

CTIO, Executive/Leader Coach, Consultant, Strategist, Architect. Transforming orgs thru Tech & helping Tech Leaders transform orgs https://www.richardsage.com/