When we think about improving ourselves, we tend to only think about the areas that need improvement. We recall times when we failed to meet the expectations of others or even ourselves and often overlook our big wins. The problem with focusing on the areas that need to most work is that we don’t end up nourishing the strongest part of ourselves. In the end, we put all of our energy into the weak areas and the strong ones begin to slowly weaken. What if, instead, we focused primarily on our strengths?
Identify Your Strengths
Think about what tasks energize you. What are you doing when you’re at your best? That’s not an arrogant question to ask. In fact, it’s necessary. You need to know what you’re the best at if you’re going to contribute effectively. Don’t forget that you do have weaknesses, so stay humble, but being confident about what you can bring to the table is important to your success.
Identify the Strengths of Others
When everyone is under the same expectation, it can be very hard to stand out and thrive. Everyone has their own set of unique strengths and weaknesses and to base your expectation on anything other than that is a disservice. Expecting results that are undeliverable is like asking someone to float after throwing them into the ocean with an anchor tied to their feet. Instead, spot the strengths of others and bring them to the surface. Doing this will add so much value to the individual, and in turn, allow them to add so much value to the team. It’s a win / win. People produce their best work when they are able to operate in their unique strengths. When you’ve placed someone in the right role, then you can begin to truly define the expectations. Picking the right people to accomplish a task is just as important as accomplishing the task at all. The results will be entirely different.
The great thing about a strengths based focus is that you can build a team full of experts. Everyone’s weaknesses are covered by someone else’s strengths and no one is expected, to any severe degree, to operate outside of their strengths. If everyone on your team has the same strengths, there will be a high level of efficiency in one area and a low level of efficiency everywhere else. Of course, it’s not realistic to assume that you’ll never have to accomplish something outside of your skill set, but the goal is to be around the people who can help you in your areas of weakness.