Focusing on Strengths vs. Weaknesses

I recently completed an assessment and received a report about myself called the “Professional Thinking Styles Report.” Over the years, I’ve completed many assessments and am always fascinated by the insights I gain into myself. This assessment was no exception. I’ve been reflecting on the strengths and “limitations” (also known as weaknesses) identified by this assessment. When most people receive the results of an assessment, they are more interested in reading the sections that talk about their weaknesses. I am no exception. Perhaps this is because of what the assessment instrument referred to as “my perfectionistic attitude toward myself.”

This assessment outlined 12 strengths and only 5 limitations. Yet the limitations are what I keep thinking about. I want to become a better version of myself, so part of me thinks it makes sense to improve upon my areas of weakness.

There are, of course, two schools of thought on personal development:
1) Improve upon your weaknesses.
2) Further develop your strengths.

In Now, Discover Your Strengths, the authors contend that the world’s best managers assume that “Each person’s greatest room for growth is in the areas of his or her greatest strength.” However, they also point out that most people tend to become experts in their weaknesses and spend their lives trying to repair their flaws while allowing their strengths “to lie dormant and neglected.”

The Gallup Organization conducted many years of research about this topic, and their results “suggest that the most effective people are those who understand their strengths and behaviors. These people are best able to develop strategies to meet and exceed the demands of their daily lives, their careers, and their families.”

What do you think? Do you focus on further developing your strengths or improving your weaknesses? Even if you believe that it is better to focus on your strengths, do you struggle to do it? Looking forward to hearing your comments.

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