Steps to Management Success – Step 54: Know Your Strengths

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 1st, 2010


Know Your Strengths

Most people build their career mainly on their qualifications and experience. Unfortunately, they ignore the most important asset they have for achieving success: their own strengths. Unless we know our strengths and use them, we risk getting into occupations that do not suit us—or performing well below our potential in whatever endeavor we choose.

WHAT IT MEANS: If you can accept the fact that you’re not perfect, it reasonably follows that you have certain strengths—skills, characteristics, talents—and weaknesses. By knowing what they are, you can leverage your strengths to your best advantage while proactively managing your weaknesses (by being more prepared, by assigning certain responsibilities and tasks to others, etc.) so that you are more effective in whatever you do. By not allowing yourself to be sabotaged by your own shortcomings, you can become much better at getting out of your own way—and that’s a definite strength!

ACTION PLAN: Discover your own strengths and weaknesses. What are your five top qualities? Are you good at writing or presenting? Staying organized? Managing others? Teaching? Analyzing trends? Being persistent? To make this list as accurate as possible, try to link your strengths and weaknesses to past experiences. You may start to notice patterns and trends that were not previously apparent. Finally, seek feedback from others. Most strengths and weaknesses have a way of advertising themselves.

EVEN BETTER: Once you have a keener understanding of what you’re good at, try to take on those projects (and even those jobs) that will showcase those positives more often. For example, if you’re a good speaker, maybe you should be doing that more, either internally or before customers. Conversely, if being disorganized has been a perennial detour to your professional progress, learn what it takes to become more organized—or entrust that task to an assistant. Generally, teams function more effectively when each member has more of an opportunity to exercise his or her strengths.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)

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