When I speak about strengths, I often hear the argument that focusing more on strengths might be nice, but working on our weaknesses is what really makes us improve. On the surface, it seems to make sense: if something is a strength for you, why should you spend any more time on it? Shouldn’t you focus on the areas that are NOT strengths for you, and improve those, instead?
This is the mindset that many of us have learned over the course of our careers, and it is totally focused weaknesses. It makes us feel like we are not enough, and we always need to be fixing our perceived weaknesses and flaws. The issue with this mindset is that when we are very focused on weaknesses, we:
- easily become blind to our best qualities, impacting how we see ourselves and our self-confidence,
- might give up easier on what we are trying to achieve, because working on weaknesses is not enjoyable or engaging, and
- become average at everything, not reaching our best potential because we are building our performance on something that is not a strength to us.
The weakness-focused mindset can be costly, and even more so when we serve other people as leaders. If we see people through their weaknesses or areas of improvement, their best potential might go unnoticed. Consequently, they are not feeling engaged at work and they are not delivering their best results. However, if we switch our mindset and focus on strengths, instead, we can bring out the best in those around us. When we focus more on strengths, we:
- feel energized and engaged at work, which translates to better performance, including better customer experiences,
- are more resilient, because even when we face a problem or difficulty, we can still lean into what do the best and enjoy doing,
- become the best versions of ourselves. And if everyone in the team is bringing their best strengths to work and these strengths complement each other, the team as a whole becomes stronger.
Focusing on strengths makes your team flourish, and it makes your bottom line flourish. And the fact that you decide to focus more on strengths absolutely does not mean that you would ignore weaknesses, or never help people work on their areas of improvement. You definitely shouldn’t forget about these, but you can approach them differently. For example, instead of helping someone improve their presentation skills by practicing (improving a weakness), help them to use their organizational skills to plan their talking points well (playing to their strengths), their creativity to build superb presentation slides (playing to their strengths), and their empathy to connect with their audience (playing to their strengths). Same situation, but the strengths-focused mindset changes the experience and the results.
If you think that learning more about strengths-focused leadership could have benefits for your team, I have just the right opportunity for you! I will be hosting a FREE virtual coffee break where you will learn more about what it means to be a strengths-focused leader, and how you can become one. We’ll also learn how to give strengths-based feedback. The coffee break is a relaxed, informal event and you can participate in the open conversation and exercises as much as you want to. Or if you just want to listen in while you sip your java, that’s totally fine, too! Here are the details:
WHAT: An online coffee break on the topic “How to Be a Strengths-Focused Leader”
WHEN: Thursday, May 20, 2021, at 10:00AM Central Time (U.S.)
WHERE: Zoom (the spots are limited!)
HOW CAN I SIGN UP: Please sign up through this link.
Hope to see you there! Feel free to prepare any questions that you may have about this topic.
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash