I’ve realized something interesting this morning: our strengths are often blind spots.
We often don’t realize something is a strength until someone tells us that it is.
This came up because this morning I took the Strengths Finder 2.0 test. After filling out 170 questions, you’re given your top 5 strengths.
These strengths were interesting to me, because they accounted for things in my personality that I didn’t necessarily consider strengths. Instead, they were just things I did.
For example, I love to read and collect books – especially about business and self-improvement. That accounts for my Input strength.
In the past, I’ve always been someone to bring new people into a group. If I could tell someone was new, didn’t have friends to talk to, etc. I would always bring them in to join the circle. That’s my Includer strength.
I’ve never liked to make quick, rash decisions. That’s because I have a strength of Intellection.
I’m a Maximizer. That means rather than to try focus on someone’s weaknesses, I’d rather help them polish their strengths. Looking back, I can see that for myself. For example, I have outsourced written content for websites in the past. I just can’t deal with an article that’s terrible. I would rather just re-write the whole thing. But if it was already pretty good, I liked to make little tweaks to improve it.
Obviously, we can’t always rely on our strengths. In an emergency, you have to make a quick decision. In a situation where you have to deliver bad news, my Includer strength holds me back (which is very true by the way- I hate delivering bad news.)
To be honest, I was disappointed in a way that some things weren’t my strengths. For example, Focus. I’d love to be able to focus on something better.
…but maybe that’s the whole point. If we were good at everything, you wouldn’t actually have strengths. That’s not how people work.
Someone with tons of focus may hate learning new ideas. They need someone with the Input strength to do that for them.
Have Command as a strength? That’s great you’re so decisive and can make things happen. But when relationships are involved, you may need a partner with Empathy or Woo strengths to make sure you don’t burn a bridge.
I’ve heard it said that in business, you should strive to work with people who have different strengths. I’m realizing more and more how true that is.
It’s why my current boss hired me in the first place. I’m a military guy and engineer who has worked as a freelance writer, but now moved into marketing. I have different perspectives than others in the department with very different backgrounds.
And it’s been interesting. Because I don’t do some things as well as my coworkers, but others I do very well. For example, I bring lots of new ideas.
If you don’t know what your strengths are, you can’t further develop them. You can’t… well, focus on what you’re great at.
Pick up a copy of Strengths Finder 2.0 and figure it out. I promise you’ll be glad you did!