What would you say your strengths and weaknesses are? It’s a relatively common question, particularly at job interviews, where employers aim to quickly gain a good sense for your personality and traits. You may already have the answers, but do you actively use them to adjust and balance your life?
Determining your strengths and weaknesses can be easy: Simply list what you excel at and what you struggle with the most. This requires some self-awareness, a fundamental aspect and measure of emotional intelligence. Additionally, don’t be afraid to seek the opinions of others around you for insights into your strengths and weaknesses. This is important because your view of yourself may be very different from how others perceive you. In any case, you don’t have to be completely objective to begin the journey of finding your internal balance. The important thing is to have the willingness to change.
In most work environments, an effective leadership strategy is one that emphasizes and exploits the best qualities of the personnel. As a leader of an organization, you might utilize each team member’s strength, so that they could do their best work in their particular sector or specialty. While this would seem to be logical and follow conventional wisdom, the fatal flaw in this strategy is that it doesn’t address weaknesses. Unfortunately, focusing exclusively on strengths will limit your full potential.
You should recognize your shortcomings so that they can be fully addressed. This is true in both your personal and professional life. By acknowledging and correcting your weaknesses, you can show that you are secure and honest about what you really have to offer, that you aren’t someone who makes unsubstantiated claims about yourself.
Avoid overdoing your strengths because it will be a detriment in the long run. For example, a talented operational manager might focus relentlessly on efficient results, but in the process of controlling and micromanaging, actually stifle productivity. As the doer, it might be hard for the manager to recognize this about his or herself, but in this case, more is not better. Redirect your energy — use your strengths to tackle your weaknesses.
To begin the work of addressing your weaknesses, maintain an open mind. Challenge what you know about yourself and your abilities and avoid trying to rationalize or justify your responses. For example, you may be a supportive leader, but taken too far, what are the consequences of that quality? Do you ever find that being understanding of others limits your productivity? Or, when you reflect upon your abilities and talents, do you find that you privately see yourself as being superior to others?
Though it’s harder than it sounds, make a habit of trying new things, even down to small habits. This will refresh your mindset and allow you to discover hidden strengths. For example, if you notice that you often do the majority of talking at conference meetings, next time make an effort to be the listener. Always remember that there is a difference between truly listening and just waiting for the next opportunity to speak.
The delicate space where you reign in your strengths to grow your weaknesses is known as the “genius zone.” This is where passion meets innate talent, enabling you to discover what works best for you and your work. Having self-reflective clarity in your goals, skills, and abilities will shine through your personal brand and set you apart. Achieve this by balancing your strengths and weaknesses. You will be empowered for success, fulfillment, and lifelong improvement.
Once you’ve begun your process of becoming a more well-rounded individual, you will grow and learn more about how to be your strongest self. Cultivate your weaknesses to become your strengths and don’t allow your overused strengths to become weaknesses.
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Originally published at medium.com.