When I first began working in the corporate world, there was a certain view on handling your strengths and weaknesses. Basically, manage your strengths and develop your weaknesses. Of course what management wanted was for employees to become better and more well-rounded. After years of working in corporate and now coaching others, I have a different view….and some corporations are coming around too.
There is a reason you have the strengths and weaknesses you have. I believe it has less to do with natural talent and more to do with…..how much you enjoy the task at hand. You see, most people excel at those things they enjoy doing and well….don’t do quite as well when they don’t. I’m not denying there may be a certain degree of natural abilities, but we tend to devote more attention to those things we enjoy.
I believe the best way to increase effectiveness, productivity and engagement is to hire the right combination of strengths and weaknesses so that each employee is able to largely contribute in a manner they enjoy. There are other factors that go along with this such as treating employees with trust, respect and appreciation. People also do their best work when they feel like a valued member of the team. However, enjoying what you do always plays a large role in performance.
How Much Does it Really Matter?
Think about when you sit down to do a job – whether it is in your career, at your home, in your social circles or anywhere else life takes place. When you know you’re about to do something you enjoy, what is your mindset? You’re focused. You’re intentional. Time just stands still and the thought of a break doesn’t even occur to you. Gratitude fills your chest and a smile may even cross your face. Doing it well becomes easy and enjoyable. You’ll also dedicate more time and energy to it….and it’s good energy!
When you need to do something you don’t enjoy, it’s a whole different story, isn’t it? Distraction is constant. Errors and lack of detail build up because you just want it to be over. You feel grumpy or angry for having to do it. Procrastination becomes the norm as you avoid it. Who wants to get better at something that feels like that?
The correct way to handle strengths and weaknesses, in my opinion, is to develop your strengths and manage your weaknesses. Of course, in order to do this and make good progress, you have to have the right team who can balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Building the right combination in a team is so important in the corporate world, in entrepreneurial worlds, and in our personal worlds.
In the Corporate World
When I was building my corporate team, I hired an excellent combination of strengths and weaknesses . I had some who were more technical and geared toward continual improvement and idea generation. Others enjoyed the day to day tasks, were extremely detail oriented and were very well versed in how things were done in the past. Some had a talent for larger scale projects that required careful organization and documentation while others were better with smaller items that needed done quickly. Everyone got along really well, were efficient, engaged in discussion and the workload and contributed to the overall success of our team…..because they all enjoyed what they were doing!
Did they always get to do what they enjoyed? Of course not. There were times when we all had to do things that weren’t quite as fun or didn’t feel quite as meaningful. However, as their manager, I kept their strengths and weaknesses in mind when assigning tasks and, whenever possible, we combined our efforts in a way that allowed us all to enjoy it a little more.
Perhaps you’re an entrepreneur, stay at home mom or a student. How does any of this talk about building a team of various strengths and weaknesses matter to you?
Many of us feel like we have to do things alone. We want to be self-sufficient. We’d like to ensure it’s done right or in a certain way. To ask for help or partnership would be to bother someone.
In reality, you can develop your own “power team” no matter what you’re doing. It’s the same philosophy used in recruiting the right players for a sports team! You have some who are better at pitching, some who enjoy catching, some who like to play short stop and some who would rather be in the outfield.
If you’re a stay at home mom, perhaps you really love to cook and you choose to ensure there is a hot meal on the table every night for your family. It’s important to you for the family to come together around the table and have bonding time together. However, maybe you really dislike doing the laundry! For you, there’s nothing worse than having to sit and fold mountains of fabric and sort them into little piles. In some cases, maybe you are lucky and your spouse balances your strengths and weaknesses. That would be fantastic, wouldn’t it? It may be more likely that you would be able to become partners with another mom who balances some of your opposites. Wouldn’t you be thrilled to cook enough food for both of your families if she would do your laundry?
Have you ever thought about trying an arrangement like that? Most of us haven’t because we assume everything is our responsibility.
Life Can be so Much More Enjoyable
We should always spend our days doing what we love! There are so many reasons for this…and it’s not just to have fun and it’s not being irresponsible. When you do something you love, you’re happier, you’re a nicer person, you’re more productive, your physical body is healthier because it’s not being drug down by stress. Can you imagine if everyone did what they enjoy?
One of the wonderful things about how we were created is that we are all different….and yet, we’re all the same. We all have different talents and abilities and we all enjoy different things. If everyone did what they love, I am a firm believer we’d have people to fill every requirement. However, being all the same, most of us allow fear and the opinions of others to rule over what we do. When that happens, we end up trying to do what someone else loves….which doesn’t fulfill us and doesn’t fulfill the balanced needs of all.
What can you do just a little differently to bring more joy and fulfillment into your life? What strengths and weaknesses will you develop or manage? I’d like to suggest that every month you think of one small thing you enjoy and how you can weave that thing into your life just a little more fully than you do right now. You don’t have to run out and quit your job or make drastic changes. Simple changes over time can make a huge difference in your quality of living!
I actually enjoy trying new things, so I’ve made the commitment to try something new every month. This month, I tried Thai food for the first time! I also started playing tennis and spending time with friends more frequently.
Before I started this project of mine to become more fulfilled and happy, I was in such a dark place that I had a hard time remembering what I enjoyed. If you find yourself in a similar position, reach out to me through my Contact Page and it would be my pleasure to help you rediscover who you are and what is meaningful for you!