Play To Your Strengths.

We are often told in work reviews about the weaknesses that we need to concentrate on, but there is a view that says that to work on our weaknesses is a waste of time. I often wonder how much it would improve an organisation if they allowed their staff to play to their strengths. Gary Lockwood, on the website, bizsuccess.com says,

Always working on your weaknesses undermines your self esteem since you will focus mostly on your deficiencies.

I remember reading a story, I think it was in a Charles Handy book, about a car sales manager who was complaining that his top salesmen were brilliant at sales, but were hopeless at organising the paperwork. No matter what techniques the managers implemented, the car salesmen failed miserably. Not only that, but as they spent time attempting to improve their paperwork, their sales went down. I can’t remember who it was that the manager was talking to, but he advised the manager to employ people to do the paperwork for the salesmen, and let them get on with what they were good at. He employed people who enjoyed the paperwork, and the salesmen got on with selling and the sales went up once more.

The whole idea of spending hours developing something we are not good at seems time-wasting. Both my husband, Barrie, and I, work in the voluntary and charity sector but he is good with the big picture, while I work on the frontline. We each recognise the need for the other, but neither of us could do the job of the other one.

Joyce Meyer, quoted on brainyquote.com says,

Over the years, I’ve learned that a confident person doesn’t concentrate or focus on their weaknesses –  they maximise their strengths.

That is why I believe strongly in team work as far as is possible. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and the best teams have people whose strengths complement each other. That has to maximise productivity. Too often I have seen bosses who want a team of people who work the same way that they do. I currently work in a team where we are not afraid to ask for each others’ help. Obviously there are certain skills that we need in life but as a general rule, I think that I agree with Walter Jon Williams, as quoted on brainyquote.com.

If you can find collaborators whose strengths compliment your own, the result can be more than the sum of its authors.