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Are you working on your weaknesses? Or on your strengths?

Performance reviews are often focused on weaknesses. The strengths are considered as normal, but to get the employee more all-round, weaknesses get the attention. That is because we are more convinced that we always need to try to improve where we are weak. Weaknesses are clear and visible: you don’t like the work, you miss the skills, you feel bad, anxiety, you remember criticism. And so, we were told, we need to do something about it!


The majority of the workforce show mixed feelings when they are told to work on their weaknesses. They know that weaknesses are an area of attention, but it is hard to improve weaknesses. Off course, you will make progress, but it goes slowly. It consumes a lot of time and energy and the outcome is often just a slightly better performance (mediocre at best).


Wouldn’t it be better to make your strengths stronger, rather than focusing your efforts on getting better in the areas where you are weak?


What do I mean with strength? It is not just an activity that you perform more than correctly. Strengths are activities that you are attracted to, that you execute much better than the average person. Activities that you love!


When you can play to your strength you will be more engaged, more focused (flow), resulting in feeling good because you are growing and developing (faster than when you try to improve your weaknesses). That is PASSION. And so, it makes you more successful and you find your greatest happiness.


However, it does not mean that you simply do what you're good at and you do not want to improve. Strengths must be further developed.


Concentration on the development of strength makes you a real specialist, the subject matter expert, working on the edge of human intelligence. Only being the best will create fundamental changes. Mediocre will not do that.


You probably consider most of your strengths as part of your daily routine, not noticing that you do particular things very good, much better than the average person around you.


How to Find Your Strengths.

  • Ask people around you (manager, colleagues, friends, family members) to tell you what they think your strengths are.

  • Keep an eye on unexpected compliments, praise or positive feedback.

  • Be more mindful of what you are doing. Make a list of your activities, and note how these activities make you feel (what you want to do first, flow, what makes you feel happy/successful) and under which conditions. (ps: you can do the same for your weaknesses.)

  • And create a list of your proudest achievements that energized you. Do you see a pattern, things in common, or a theme? That may be a signal indicating a strength.


How to Develop and Grow Your Strengths.

  • Create a growth mindset for your strengths; keep in mind that mastery matters.

  • Take an advanced class or read books/tutorials on a topic related to your strengths.

  • Study other professionals in your expertise. Analyze what they do and how they do it.

  • Do bigger, more difficult projects to make your experience bigger and richer.

  • Get exposure, by sharing what you do, working with senior executives, shadowing, etc.

  • Develop complimentary skills to make your strengths more complete.

  • Start teaching. If you need to explain to someone else what you do and how you do it, it will make you stronger than you are. This is the protégé effect.

  • See, if someone else, with strengths in that area, can take care of your weaknesses.

  • Find out if one of your weaknesses is an undiscovered strength. If so, start developing!


Dear Manager, especially for you:

Please, do not focus solely on the weaknesses of your direct reports during a performance review. Discuss with them what needs to be done to make them a truly world champion in their strengths. This will make you, your team and the company more successful. (Wouldn’t it be great if your company has the best subject matter expert there is: the authority?)


It is like asking a world top-tennis player to start developing his weak swimming skills.

No, the tennis player can only become number 1 if he keeps on developing all his tennis skills.100% focus and concentration.


THE GOLDEN NUGGET: Be careful, you might be very good at something you hate doing. That is not the type of strength you want to improve. (I am an exceptionally good dishwasher, but....)


There is much more to tell you about working on strengths and weaknesses. Please contact me if you would like to get more information or would like to be coached on your personal SW(OT) to reach your full potential.

Joost


Ps: You want a FREE character strengths assessment? Let me know, I arrange that for you.

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