Purple Skies discusses how your weaknesses may be causing you to lose out on your strengths
Do you know how well you use your strengths at work? “Employees who use their strengths outperform those who don’t” according to a report produced by Gallup. This research talks about the use of strengths in leadership and how this can benefit the organisation. Taking a step back and analysing how your job role plays to your strengths could make you happier at work. The Gallup’s survey conducted in 2015 says “people who use their strengths every day are three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life, six times more likely to be engaged at work…” So this shows using your strengths builds confidence and self belief. Using them in your job role helps you feel more empowered. But should all our focus be on our strengths? What about our weaknesses?
Should I foucus on strengths or weaknesses?
So should we focus on our strengths or our weaknesses? Which one should it be? We see various posts telling us to focus solely on your weaknesses to fix the things that are wrong (not that I believe having a weakness is wrong, by the way!). Alternatively we see other blog posts that tell us to ignore the weaknesses because this could become quite negative and depressing. So which one do we focus on? No wonder we are confused and go with the latest craze. Focusing solely on strengths within an organisation can go against the grain. Most want to focus on weakness and trying to fix people. From my experience when working with my clients its important to focus on both. I feel its a case of balance. I help my clients use their intuition to determine how much time and focus to spend on these areas. This is to ensure they don’t get bogged down and helps them move towards where they want to be. Additionally, their weakness may be contributing to why they are not making the most of their strengths. For example, if your weakness is lack of self motivation then you are not going to do much in way of improving and reinforcing strengths. Therefore improving motivation will help with improving strengths. Although there is a great temptation to focus on the weaknesses, the focus will grow the more time you spend on them. When you may not need to spend all that much time on improving weaknesses. Therefore a professional development coach can help you focus on the right areas at the right time. They will help you work on the weaknesses and they will also see when its a good time to start reinforcing the strengths.
Assessing the job role
Furthermore assessing your job role and spotting the areas where you have used your strengths could boost confidence. In the Gallop report, they say “individual managers who are focused on strengths are likely to be swimming against the tide, as conventional management wisdom is obsessed with fixing employees’ weaknesses rather than building their strengths.” Whilst this ends up being reality, there needs to be some focus on the weaknesses. They can’t be totally ignored. There needs to be a balance of focus so the employee feels they are moving forward in a positive way. By working on their weaknesses in order to help their strengths, all forms part of the professional development plan.
Also if you have not already identified a list of your strengths, use this website to help you collate your list. I have used it previously and it’s good to get an overall idea of where your strengths lie and briefly how to use them. This tool produces your top 5 strengths but also provides you with your 1 weakness. Go through your strengths list together with you job role and identify areas where you have used your strengths. Start building a picture to provide you with examples of where you have used your strengths and how well they worked. Not only with this give you a confidence boost and build your self belief it will also help with your job interview or promotion. Now make a plan to generate more evidence of ways you will use your strengths in the future.
In brief there comes a point where focusing on weaknesses can be demoralising. It can foster stress and lack of motivation. If the weakness is so significant to the job role and its difficult to improve, maybe that person is best suited to another type of role that does make the most use of their strengths. Its all about balance. A professional development coach can help with this balance. Ensuring this all forms part of an overall professional development plan. Creating a safe and supportive environment to help you move forwards.