As I have coached thousands of managers on their 360 degree feedback, I see that many people tend to focus too much on their weaknesses and ignore their strengths. To be effective, it is important to focus on strengths and only address those weaknesses that keep you from reaching your full potential.
Let me provide an example. Let’s say that a marketing director is very creative, but has never been good with managing budgets associated with her marketing plans. She is successful because she can work with her direct reports to create great marketing campaigns, but struggles because her ideas often run over budget in the implementation. This weakness is definitely impacting her ability to succeed, as well as others’ perception of her overall abilities.
A common response to her problem might be for her to focus only on correcting this weakness-to attend a budgeting course, look into additional education, etc. However, these options are expensive and take time. Besides, it doesn’t take into account her real strengths-the ability to create great marketing campaigns. Ignoring this strength would be tragic. The solution to her problem could be as simple as asking a member of her team to monitor and control expenses, as this is obviously not her strength. However, focusing only on the weakness, while ignoring the strength, is generally not the answer. Remember, it is our strengths that lead to our success, NOT our lack of weaknesses.
There are things we do so well and effortlessly that we often forget we are good at them. We call these things strengths, talents, or gifts. A 360 feedback report identifies highest scores as seen by others. However, the participant needs to interpret what his or her real strengths are. Participants in a 360 should review the strengths that are apparent in their 360 report and ask:
Have these strengths played out in my career thus far? How?
Am I continually using these strengths in my career and personal life?
What would happen if I were to fully utilize these strengths more regularly?
Why Build on Strengths?
It is our Strengths that lead to true success in our carreers, NOT lack of weaknesses.
We all have unique strengths.
Strengths may come naturally to us, often from an early age.
Others tend to overlook our weaknesses if they respect our strengths
In the absence of contradictory data, people will assume strengths: “She is VER