When Your Strengths Become Weaknesses

career tipsToo much of a good thing is NOT a good thing.  Perhaps you haven’t considered that your strengths and weaknesses are two sides of the same coin.  You need to manage your natural and acquired strengths so they don’t mushroom into faults, irritants, defects, and deficiencies that drive other people crazy.

A couple of years ago I served a client who, as a result of her fierce determination to avoid micromanaging them, allowed her employees to work autonomously on a regular basis.  By essentially letting them do what they wanted to do and rarely asking for updates, she eventually got herself into the position of being blindsided in a way that embarrassed her in front of her Board as well as in public.  This was not a good situation.  In fact, overnight it poked a few holes in her professional reputation.

You don’t want this happening to you.  It’s one thing to trust your staff; it’s another thing to be totally (or mostly) out of the loop.  Any of your strengths that are carried to the extreme may come back to haunt you.  Awareness is one of the keys to staying out of this trap.  Read my feature article below for more specifics.

By allowing some of your recognizable strengths to morph into annoying and even dysfunctional weaknesses, you could be damaging your professional reputation.  Take a look at this list of “desired” traits and skills along with their corresponding excesses that can have a negative impact on people around you:

Optimism. The other side of this coin is often denial of certain facts and truth.

Analysis. Are you bogged down in details to the point of paralysis?

Loyalty. This can lead to over tolerance of inappropriate behaviors and performance.

Independence. Do you resist functioning as a participatory team player?

Responsibility. The other side of this coin can be an unwillingness to delegate.

Cooperation. Are you looking the other way when situations call for confrontation because you dislike and fear conflict?

Helpful. By spending much of your day assisting others you may not get your own work done in a timely manner.

Rationality and Objectivity.  Do you demonstrate appropriate empathy when those around you experience difficult circumstances?

Passion.  Impulsiveness or over zealousness can be the other side of this coin.

Conviction.  Are you reluctant to seek other people’s ideas and opinions?

Assessing your behaviors at work in an honest, deliberate, focused way can be one of the wisest activities you can choose to embrace.  Let’s face it:  Most of us have a bucket full of strengths that, when used and leveraged appropriately, can facilitate both individual and organizational success.  Just remember that the key word is appropriately.

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