Throughout the last two decades, I have had the privilege to work for some remarkable leaders and amazing companies and I made a lot of experiences that did not only help me become a better leader but also a better person. I always wanted to write about my incredible journey once I’m retired but many of you encouraged me to not wait until then so I decided to start publishing some of my insights here on LinkedIn. I have no scientific evidence for my findings and what works for me might not work for others. I do hope though that you find my thoughts stimulating enough to try adopting one or the other in your own environment. Let me know how it works for you and please challenge me with your own views.
How often did we all work on our development plans trying to come up with an action plan to improve one or the other “areas of improvements” we discussed with our line manager? And how often did we, a year later, struggle to define a measurable improvement? I certainly did more than once and eventually stopped signing on plans I knew in advance would never yield any tangible results. The problem with all those well-meant plans was that they were all focusing on my weaknesses: “develop strategic thinking” was (and still is) one of the areas I simply suck at; I’m not good a developing an abstract vision of the future and put an action plan in place to reach it one far day. And as much as I tried, most of my peers are still way better at it than I am. I hence decided to focus on what I’m good at: getting things done. Realizing that this is one of my greatest skills and concentrating on it allowed me to choose jobs that require execution rather than planning. And realizing that I’m not good at strategic thinking allowed me to surround myself with people who have this talent. Today I consciously use everything I’m naturally good at and try to get better at it; at the same time, I get people into my team who mitigate my soft spots with their natural talents.
Not a big deal you think? Well then go ahead and confess to your team and your boss what you’re not good at, what bores you, and what you will never really get any better at. Get the people on board who complement your skills. And change your job if your talent doesn’t match with its requirements!
Oh and by the way: various studies have shown that when we focus on developing our strengths, we grow faster than when trying to improve our weaknesses. Plus, people who use their strengths are happier, less stressed, and more confident. Worth a try?