As human beings we tend to be drawn to the concept of perfectionism and often have a tendency to expect exceptional results in areas that are not our strengths.
How often have we as a leader found ourselves thinking, “she’s exceptional at customer service, if only she could improve her reporting skills….” or as a parent, “he’s so creative, if only he could be neater with his spelling…”
The power of taking our strengths to a level of mastery and relieving ourselves of the burden of improving our weaknesses is not to be underestimated.
I came to this conclusion recently after volunteering for my second canteen shift – although I decided to do it with willingness, I ended up realising how ridiculous it was to volunteer in this area of my life where there are categorically no strengths lurking within me hoping to reveal themselves at opportune moments.
After burning four trays of vegemite scrolls just as the bell for recess went off, I made the decision to focus on my strengths and not my weaknesses from now on!
Liz Wiseman talks about finding your ‘native genius’ – that which you do easily (without effort) and freely (without condition.) There are often countless native genie left untapped within a team, that if utilised would offer a leader a whole new plethora of skills to draw from. As a start, you could think about what strengths you (and your team) have that are not being used at work, but you wish they were to help you discover potential resources not being used.
By taking time to really discover all of your team’s strengths, you could balance out their weaknesses by fully utilising everyone’s talents and stop wasting time and energy encouraging them to improve what they are inherently not good at and not interested in improving.
As we start to round off the year and focus on next year’s goals, why not work on taking a chosen strength to the next level, as opposed to setting resolutions on your weaker areas that rarely work anyway.