3 ways to overcome weaknesses using strengths

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As human beings we naturally have a negative bias, and our society is geared to this particularly with education, advertising and workplaces focused on ‘fixing what is wrong’.

With this in mind, people often question me on how focusing on our strengths can support them in their personal and professional development. “Shouldn’t we focus on the area we need to fix?”

By shifting our focus to our strengths, we are better able to manage around our weaknesses in the following way:

1. Knowing our talents helps us identify our best opportunity for success

When I ask people what their talents are, I often get answers that relate back to high school:

  • I used to be a great long distance runner
  • I was great at playing the clarinet

Yet our talents are the things that come really easily to us. Often we overlook them as we think ‘doesn’t everyone do that?’ – but the reality is that they may not.Knowing your talents allows you to shift your focus intentionallyto developing them into strengths. It also shifts your focus away from trying to fix what you’re not good at. Instead, focus on ‘how can I tackle this challenge using my talents’. Suddenly, you have a different mindset and approach that fields far better outcomes.

2.  Strengths have positives and negatives – use them wisely!

Using the Gallup Strengths tool, I know my number one strength is ‘Futuristic’. Used positively, I am visionary and can inspire and energise people with my vision for the future. If I use this theme negatively though, I can come across as having my ‘head in the clouds’ or be seen to be so preoccupied with the future that I don’t focus on what needs to be done today.

People who use their strengths productively have a greater awareness of when to apply particular talents and when to pull them back specific to the situation they are in so they can be most productive.

3.  Collaborate wisely & develop well-rounded teams, not individuals

Know your lesser talents and collaborate with someone who is stronger in that area. For example, if Empathy is a lesser theme for you, and you are writing a letter of a sensitive nature, run the content past someone who is higher on Empathy to get his or herpoint of view before sending.Successful teams and partnerships work when they area ‘well-rounded’ collection of individuals focusing on what they do best.

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Guest Thursday, 18 July 2019