10 Insights about managing weaknesses
- Adopting a strengths-based approach to development does not mean that a person can ignore his or her weaknesses.
- The reality is that a person can’t ignore his or her weaknesses.
- To understand what this means, though, it is important to first define “weakness”.
- In a strengths-based approach, a weakness is a shortage or misapplication or talent, skill, or knowledge that causes problems for you or others.
- Using this definition, it’s obvious that we can’t ignore our weaknesses. Ignoring weaknesses doesn’t banish them; it just makes them worse – and they’ll continue to stand in the way of what we want to accomplish. We have to deal with them.
- Is it a weakness; maybe; maybe not.
- If you’re a behind-the-scenes automobile mechanic who never sees the customer and has little desire for contact with other people, is that lesser talent a weakness? No.
- If you’re a nurse who doesn’t know how engines work, is that lack of knowledge a weakness? Not at all.
- If you’re a receptionist who struggles to perform the basic steps of administering an injection, is that shortage of skill a weakness? Of course not.
- But what if you’re automobile mechanic who doesn’t know how engines work, a nurse who struggles to perform the basic steps of administering an injection, or a receptionist who has little desire for contact with other people? Now, those are weaknesses – weaknesses that should be managed.
There are several strategies to manage a weakness.
- Instead of trying to become something we are not, we can find support systems or build complementary partnerships with others to address the situation.
- A support system can be as a simple as a calculator used by someone who has gaps in his or her mathematical talents. In a slightly more involved support system, a person who has difficulty putting names with faces might create portfolios or contact lists on a smartphone that include not only names but photos as well.
- A complementary partnership exists when two or more people help each other by sharing their talents, such as when a shy person invites an outgoing friend to parties to help break the ice and when a naturally creative husband thinks of several fun vacation activities while the innately disciplined wife manages to fit them within the family’s budget.
- We can manage our weaknesses, but our best opportunities for personal development and enhancement are seldom discovered or developed from our weaknesses.
Our greatest talents serve as our best opportunities for excellence when they are used properly. The best advice is not to focus on your strengths and ignore your weaknesses but to focus on your strengths and find ways to manage your weaknesses.
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