We all have weaknesses, but being self-aware, understanding these weaknesses, and managing them enables us to grow professionally and harness them.
A weakness is not a task you just do not like doing. A weakness is something that leaves you drained of energy. If you feel depleted after performing a task, this is your weakness. Once identified, it is typically not possible to convert a weakness into a strength, but it is possible to limit the impact the weakness has on you as an individual.
To limit the impact, there are steps you can take to manage your weaknesses – using STOPS.
S: Stop Doing IT
Will anyone actually care if you do not do this task? If you stopped doing this, and focused your energy elsewhere, what would be the impact?
T: Team Up
Is there anyone else that can take this task, or help you? Can you trade with them? Your weakness may be their strength, and likewise you may be able to support them with one of their weaknesses.
O: Offer Up
Do you have a strength that can be offered up to avoid a weakness? Instead of focusing on the task that leaves you drained, can you use a strength to find a different solution?
If there is no avoiding the weakness, and no one that can support you, can you change your perception of the task? Many people are left drained by public speaking and knowing this affects their confidence leading up to the event. What if they changed their perception of the speaking commitment? Instead of dreading the speaking element, focus on the preparation. The more confident you are in your approach to the task, the more strength you have to overcome the weakness.
S: Suck it up and just do it
Unfortunately, we cannot always pick and choose what we do, and everyone must do things in their career they are left drained by. This could be presenting at an important meeting, writing a report or managing a difficult situation. Your weaknesses will not go away so sometimes you must just ‘get on with it’.
Self-awareness is an important attribute to have as a leader and as an employee, and knowing your weaknesses is a key step to becoming self-aware. Do not be embarrassed to have weaknesses; recognize and manage them instead.