As a former HR manager, I am acutely aware of the emphasis companies and individuals place on improving weaknesses as a key part of their performance appraisal system. What really bothers me about this is how much it takes the emphasis away from what truly matters – your strengths! And it goes much deeper than that:
According to Marcus Buckingham a strength is “what you do that makes you feel strengthened” (any of his books are great reading, by the way!). Guess what that means? A weakness is therefore what weakens/exhausts you! Hence why spending too much time and effort focusing on your weaknesses, even for the purposes of improving them, can be detrimental to your career. And, heck, even your health. Let’s face it – you will only be truly competitive when you compete based on your true and natural strengths. Not on something that does not come naturally and easily to you!
Now, I am not expecting you to tell your manager that you don’t want to focus on improving your weaknesses. Do what needs to be done to improve those areas that your current job demands from you. However, if you are finding that your current job draws too much on your weaknesses, rather than your strengths, then it might be time for a change. A change to a job description that truly focuses on your unique strengths. Especially if you are currently feeling exhausted (remember the definition of a weakness and what it does to you?).
Individuals who are truly successful and leaders in their fields spend the majority of their time playing to and thereby improving their strengths. Do you really think Sir Richard Branson would have become so influential (and rich!) if he spent most of his time focusing on improving his dyslexia? Nope! He delegates what doesn’t come naturally to him and focuses on his key strengths.
If You Only Do One Thing This Week: Identify what weaknesses negatively impacts you in your current job/career. Seek advice as to what can be delegated and/or avoided and where something like a specific training course might be all it takes. Then spend as much time as possible focusing on your strengths (even if that means a job or career change).
Can you imagine how much more energy you will have? And how much more competitive and successful you will be? Now go for it!