To get the best out of a team, to keep things fresh and to avoid the uninspiring practise of “group think”, organisational teams these days are purposefully constructed with a mix of complimentary talents, thinking styles and competencies.
Playing to your individual team members strengths is key to achieving business goals and keeping your team motivated, however be careful not to fall into the trap of stereotyping your team players. Boxing them into set characteristics and personality styles can stunt their growth and development.
Many years ago I worked with a chap who was brilliant at coming up with unique ideas. He had the ability to dream big, motivate the team to buy into his unique concepts and get everyone charged up to turn the dream into a reality. His talents according to himself ended there.
Here’s the thing, he kept getting told and labelled by his managers that he was strong at creative ideas and big vision , but rubbish at working out the final details and follow through. He wasn’t taken to seriously in the planning phase as everyone was told where his talents lay. He then started to exclude himself from the planning sessions and follow-through phases. He started believing he was given the green light to be rubbish at certain skills. “My boss tells me I’m poor at planning, so therefore I am poor at planning”. He stopped trying, he stopped stretching himself. This mindset then started filtering into other areas of his life. “People tell me I’m rubbish at being a good communicator and sympathetic to my peers needs, therefore I am no good at those touchy-feely skills.”
Constant repetition of the same action, self-talk or feedback will result in permanent results. Eventually you are totally convinced and accept that your weaknesses will and can never be changed or there is some else who can perform the skill for you. In some instances, yes we can ask a colleague to assist, as they are brilliant at said skill, but unfortunately for other skills, especially the soft skills, we are on our own. If you think that you should only play to your strengths and ignore your weaknesses then you have lost.
Our weaknesses are generally skills we don’t like to perform. We often find no pleasure in doing them and quite frankly would rather do without. That I understand and appreciate, however by telling yourself that you don’t need to work on them is foolish and limiting.
Ask yourself, “If you never tried to improve yourself and work on your weak areas, what would your life be like?”
Then ask yourself, “If you changed the way you thought and you started to work on your weaknesses. What would your life be like?”
By just trying, you never know you may find a new strength buried amongst the weaknesses.
Acknowledge your weaknesses, but don’t let them hold you prisoner. Take control.
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