What Is the Leadership SWOT Analysis and How to Use It for Personal Leadership Development

Get this83% of employers agree that effective leadership is crucial to the success of the business (according to a study by Highrise). However, in the same study, it was discovered that only 5% of businesses have provided leadership development training for all levels. 

Those two stats don’t go hand in hand. So, if you’re looking to improve your leadership skills but are not provided with proper training, why not try the leadership SWOT analysis?

What is this and how do you use it? Come along and I’ll tell you all you need to know…

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What Is the Leadership SWOT Analysis? 

SWOT stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat. Credited to Albert S. Humphrey and his team in the 1960s, the SWOT analysis is one of the most powerful leadership assessment tools today. 

On its very basis, a SWOT analysis involves:

  • Focusing on leadership Strengths. This means focusing on the positive attributes, skills, and qualities that contribute to effective leadership. This can include excellent communication skills, problem-solving skills, decision-making skills, strategic thinking, empathy, and so on. 
  • Identifying Weaknesses. “Growth begins when we begin to accept our own weakness.” This is very true when it comes to the realm of leadership. This is why the SWOT analysis tool looks to identify any weaknesses in the world of leadership. 
  • Taking advantage of Opportunities. What produces progress and growth? It’s the opportunities that come our way and we take it and capitalize on it. This is why the SWOT action plan encourages taking advantage of opportunities. This can be something as small as learning a new skill or taking on a new project.
  • Looking out for Threats. These are challenges or obstacles that may slow down our progress or affect how well we perform. Instead of getting discouraged or overwhelmed by these threats, the SWOT analysis says we need to confront and battle them to come out on top.

As you can see, the SWOT framework helps you assess and improve both your personal growth and leadership development. Here’s how Matthew Channell, the Commercial Director at TSW Training, puts it:

Completing a SWOT analysis can put all these things into perspective, providing an insight into your personal strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Once you’ve identified these aspects of your personality, you’ll be in a better position to move forward and make a strategic plan for success.

Read More: How to Be Assertive at Work as a Manager – 20 Examples to Master

How to Use SWOT Analysis for Personal Growth and Leadership Development

The great news is that you can do a personal SWOT analysis for leadership and management improvement. All you need is a blank piece of paper that you divide into four (this is how simple the leadership SWOT analysis template is!).

From there, I’m going to guide you on how you can fill out your paper… 

1. Start with your strengths 

What are your leadership strengths? I know this is a hard question to answer. I mean, you’ll really have to dig deep. 

To help in understanding our strengths, here are a few following questions to ask yourself:

  • What aspects do customers appreciate in your work?
  • What responsibilities do your colleagues rely on you for?
  • Can you share a noteworthy compliment you received recently?
  • In which tasks do you feel particularly skilled?
  • What unique qualities do you contribute to your role?
  • Do you actively seek collaborations with others in your department or company?
  • Do your subordinates approach you with positive ideas, believing you will take action on them?

Read More: How to Be a Leader When You’re Not Naturally One: Your Ultimate Guide

2. Don’t forget your weaknesses

Remember, your strengths and weaknesses are both crucial in the context of leadership development. Here is a leadership SWOT analysis sample questions for weaknesses:

  • Are there tasks you tend to avoid?
  • Have you skipped challenging opportunities because of concerns about public failure?
  • Is there frequent turnover in your department?
  • Do you get so focused on small details that important tasks are neglected?
  • Do you face challenges in assigning tasks to your staff?
  • How often do you feel frustrated by events around you?
  • When did you last participate in a course?
  • Is there room for improvement in your task delegation skills?
  • Could your desk or calendar organization be more efficient?
  • Do people often seek clarification on your email messages? Do they ask for more details on the instructions you give? 

When listing down your weaknesses, you don’t need to worry. As Laura Tanner, manager of Middle: Managed!, puts it:

Be honest with yourself, your boss is not going to see what you wrote!

3. Seize your opportunities 

What opportunities can you take advantage of? You can find that out by answering these questions:

  • What new tools or technologies can you use?
  • Who do you know that could open up new opportunities for you?
  • What’s happening in your industry, and how can you make the most of it?
  • What weaknesses have you observed in your competitors, and how can you excel where they fall short?
  • What issues have you noticed people facing, and how can you use your strengths to help solve these problems?
  • What classes, conferences, or networking events can you attend to enhance your strengths or address your weaknesses?
  • Are there subjects that spark your curiosity?
  • Do you feel strongly about an upcoming project?
  • Is there someone in your organization you could guide or support?
  • Could a future opportunity lead to a promotion? How can you prepare to be the top candidate for that role?

4. Lookout for threats

Leadership threats may seem like a hindrance to your opportunities for growth. However, that’s not the case at all. Threats can help you assess your leadership style and improve on it. 

For this aspect, here are questions you should ask yourself:

  • What often hinders your progress at work?
  • What industry changes are impacting your profession?
  • Are there new technologies that might pose a challenge to your job or business?
  • What weaknesses could set you back compared to colleagues or competitors?
  • Are financial constraints preventing you from taking additional courses?
  • Is there talk of organizational changes in the future?
  • Is there a personal matter affecting your work focus? Can it be addressed to prevent any impact on your work quality?
  • Do you find your current role uninteresting?
  • Is your workload so heavy that key tasks lack the attention needed for quality results?
  • Do you suspect anyone is working against you in your position?
  • Is there a skill you possess that could become outdated because of shifts in customer needs or advancements in technology?

When you answer these threat questions, try to use your critical thinking and problem-solving skills (or just your good reasoning) to find ways to conquer those threats. 

Read More: Why Is Respect Important In Leadership?

Final Words

If you’re using the leadership SWOT analysis tool on yourself, you must answer all the questions I provided. This will help you figure out leadership threats and opportunities, as well as strengths and weaknesses, and use it all to improve. 

If you do this, you’ll see a boost in leadership and personal development. In turn, that will help you become even more successful in your job, whether you’re in a leadership role or not. 

Read More: What Happens When Good Employees Stop Caring

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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