Identify your Weakness to Maximize your Strengths

How to identify your weakness

strength or weakness overcome tham and analise potential roadsign with text

It’s easy to clearly see our areas of strengths while at the same time being blinded to our areas of weakness. Being able to honestly evaluate ourselves and identify areas of weakness is something all leaders need to be able to do. The purpose of identifying your weakness is to be able to see the areas you should focus on and those you should not focus on. Knowing our weakness can allow us to avoid, delegate, or limit our time using them. This provides the time for you to focus on and use your areas of strengths. Here are 3 ways to identify your weakness so you can be in a position to maximize your strengths:

1. Find what drains you

A leader who consistently works in areas of weakness will soon become drained and frustrated. If you perform a task and it cause you to be drained and it does not produce the results you wanted, you are likely working in an area of weakness. The fact is leadership drains you but you should see positive or a high level of results from your efforts. If you don’t see the results you might be working in an area of weakness. It can be compared to a car being in the parked gear and attempting to push on the gas pedal and expecting to go someplace. There will be a lot of noise but no forward movement. Find the areas that leave you drained and you will be able to identify an area of weakness that you should delegate or avoid.

2. Ask your followers

In a YouTube video (Watch the video by clicking here) about his book “What to Ask the Person in the Mirror” Robert Kaplan said, “You may not know your strengths and weakness, particularly your weakness. But the employees below you can tell you in a second what your areas of weakness area.” The people around you, especially the people who report directly to you, will be able to see your areas of weakness. Often they can clearly see or know your weakness better than you can. You should take the time to build strong relationships with each of your people so you can have open conversations about your areas of strengths and weakness. People who trust and respect you will provide valuable feedback on what your weaknesses include.

3. Find your strengths

When you find your strengths you will be able to identify the weak areas you are not good at. The best tool in finding your strengths is the Clifton Strengths Finders assessment developed by the Gallup organization. When you find your areas of strengths you can assess how much time you spend working in them, which will allow you to see how much time you spend working outside of your strengths and in areas of weakness. While a leader will need to work in both their strengths and weakness, the majority of the time should be concentrated on their strengths. Find your strengths and determine how much time you work in those areas, adjust yourself if you see your working more in areas of weakness than strengths.

Questions: Do you know your strengths and weakness? Have you used any of these methods to identify your areas of weakness? Can you add to the list?

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  • Just had a discussion about this at a seminar I gave last week on “Finding Balance in a Busy World.” As related to balance, knowing strengths and weaknesses helps a person simplify as well as be strategic in partnerships. Would be interesting to have a follow-up post connecting strengths/weaknesses and balance/simplicity.

    • That’s great! There does need to be a balance. Thank you for the idea of a follow up post.

  • Something interesting I’ve recently discovered about our weaknesses is that they’re directly related to our strengths. Dave Rendall, in his book Freak Factor, discusses this. Pretty eye-opening stuff.

    • Hi Joe,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I think they could be but it’s not always the case. I’ll have to check out his book.

      • I thought I’d prefaced that with typically. Definitely check out Dave’s book. I had the opportunity to see him speak live and it was eye-opening.

        • Got it:) Nice, I’m checking him out.

  • Knowing our weaknesses are important Dan. Having discovered my weaknesses has helped me navigate my life and work. I look for help in the areas I need help it. Each of us in an organization should focus on what we do best for maximum results – each person has their own unique strength.

    • Yes, “Each of us in an organization should focus on what we do best for maximum results – each person has their own unique strength.” Fantastic point and thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  • What should you do if you recognize a weakness but it’s not something that can be delegated? How do you improve and can you turn it into a strength?

    • Hi TCAvey,

      good question. We will always have to work in some areas of weakness. I think it’s impossible to only work in our strength zones. The key should be to develop the skills/knowledge in our weak areas only enough to be able to get the job or task complete while focusing the rest of our growth time on our strength zones. Does that make sense?

      ps. sorry for the late reply.

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