What to do when your greatest strength is a weakness

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We have just completed a number of 360 degree feedback debriefs with several different clients; the recipients have commonly been high level executives and have been further united by a theme which runs true for most individuals, and that is that their strengths have been at the very root of their development areas.

All of us have particular knowledge, skills, and patterns of thinking,  which have served us well throughout our careers; often these strengths have placed us in positions within organisations where these are highly valued.

However, time and again in 360 degree feedback reports, we see how such strengths in an individual start to unravel for them; there is a fall-out or detrimental effect on those around them. Not because they are no longer strengths but simply because they are overplayed.

The individual who relentlessly focuses on the results, the client or the project timeline, over time can become blinded to other desired outcomes i.e. a happy team, an ability to be flexible in light of new information, personal well-being.

A 360 degree feedback report offers the opportunity for an individual to re-calibrate their approach, and perhaps temper some of their strengths which are still very useful, but need to be dialled down a little.

Discussion of this always reminds me of the joke about a person being interviewed for a new job:

Interviewer: So, what would you say your greatest weakness is?

Interviewee: Ah, that would be honesty

Interviewer: Honesty? I would think that’s a strength surely?

Inteviewee: I don’t give a hoot what you think






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