In the previous post, “Managing Your Weaknesses – Part 1” I introduced 5 strategies for managing weakness but didn’t elaborate much. In case you missed the post they are:

  • Identify Your Weaknesses
  • Self-Disclose
  • Find a Partner
  • Use a Process/System
  • Innovate with Your Strengths

For fun, I recommend you check out the Top 10 Bad Auditions on American Idol . Don’t laugh too loud because as funny as these contestant performances are, there will be a day in your career where you may be like one of them.

You will think you’re doing OK, but others around you who have a keener eye for the task at hand will know better.

Strategy 1: Identifying Your Weaknesses

The easiest way to find an area of weakness is to identify activities that drain you. What activities do you hate doing, make you feel exhausted afterward?

Make a list of all the negative feedback you have received. It’s never too late to ask your spouse, boss, colleagues, friends and family. Look through old performance reviews or 360 feedback questionnaires. Any patterns emerge?

Use psychometric instruments like the MBTI or DISC.

My favorite tool is the assessment that comes with StrengthsFinder 2.0. by Jim Clifton.  

Weakness vs. Over-used Strength

There are two types of problematic behavior. The first type relates to the absence of strength (weakness) which starts with a poor perception of reality.

Therefore, these blind spots are the cause of poor performance. For example, you’re like a bad singer that is so tone deaf that you can’t even evaluate how truly bad you are! Typically, these types of weaknesses are easily spotted in activities that exhaust you.

Your strengths, when over applied, or misapplied can also be very damaging.

Think about Simon Cowell who has such strength in assessing and communicating the strongest and weakest aspects of a performance. This strength when overdone can be cutting, harsh and mean.

I once coach a person who thought they were empathetic.  In fact, according to the Gallup Report of the 34 talents, Empathy was dead last. 

With a little digging we soon realized that they were confusing empathy with their ability to care about people.  This person cared deeply about people, but had a blind spot for what they were feeling.

Strategy 2: Self Disclose

Self-discosing is a fancy way of saying you tell people about your weakness.  For example, imagine you’re a private person and you choose to listen than speak.  This can be a weakness because after a time, people will begin to think:  “what, are you too good for us to share your opinion?”

Imagine your joining a new team and at the first group meting you self-disclose: “Hi guys.  I’t great to be hear and I look forward to working together.  One thing I want you to know about me is that I tend to listen first and think second and talk third.  My lack of expression can sometimes be mis-understood like I don’t care, or I”m disengaged and that couldn’t be furthre from the truth. “

Self-disclosing is an act of vulnerability.  The paradox is that being vulnerable makes you approachable, relatable.  It’s a form of openness which promotes trust in a relationship.

Strategy 3: Find a Partner

In the prequel to “Monster Inc.” titled “Monster University” we’re given the backstory of Mike and Sulley.

The future friends meet at college and initially start off as enemies, but end up on the same team in the university’s “Scare Games”, where they and their team of misfits must beat the odds and win the competition, or be expelled from school.

As the team struggles, the two learn to work together, and slowly become best friends.  Mike is smart, but not scary and Sulley is scarey but not smart. 

By teaming up the two go on to change monster history.  This moview is a great lesson in how to forge a partnership based on strengths and weaknesses.

Strategy 4: Use a Process/System

A check list, or  step-by-step process can help to make sure you cover all your bases.  One of my weakenesses was finizaling reports for publishing.  I created a checklist to make sure that the report was ready for prime time. 

That list included things like: 

  • complete the report 2 days before it was due
  • spell check it
  • read it back wards starting on the last paragraph.
  • read it out-loud
  • print it out and read it 3 times
  • prooferead it the day before it was due after a nights sleep.
  • use Grammerly

A great example of a system is software.  Grammarly is an excellent grammar checking tool that can help those challenged in spotting errors like me.

Strategy 5: Innovate with Your Strengths

This last method is a bit advanced.  It requires that you have deep knowledge of your strengths.  I recommend using StrengthsFinder 2.0 to deepen your understanding. 

Consider the fact that for most people weakeness often are strengths that are misapplied.  For example, imagine that you have an Achiever strength.  When over applied and  you can prioritize work over people icnluding not only colleagues but friends and family. 

One way to combate this weakness is to look at your other strengths.  Perhaps you have relationship strengths that would motivate you to rethink your need to stay at work late at night, or work on the weekends.