— Zig Ziglar
We’re all given strengths. By default we can’t be good at everything, so we also develop a few weaknesses in too. Neither are good or bad, just the reality of the situation. Something I’ve recently begun to understand is how incredibly frustrating and powerful these dichotomies can be intrapersonally, interpersonally and globally.
In managing other people, I quickly learned that the majority of my role is positioning and eliciting an individual’s strengths so that he or she can both become something more personally and professionally and use that strength to help the company grow. That sounds more bad-a than it is, especially when you work with really, really smart people.
One thing that has greatly assisted me in discerning other’s strengths was first understanding what mine were; I’m still doing that (and probably always). A thing not to confuse is “learning” your strengths vs. understand, e.g. StrengthFinders is a great tool to start down the path of listing the type of strengths you might have but is nothing more than an idea.
To really understand the strengths, you’ll need to do two things:
- Gather intel on the “flavor” of strength you possess.
- Interact often with that specific strength.
With “flavor” I mean that there are specificities to each generic strength. In 100% of cases, I would peg these small discretions as personality-based. For example, some people are excellent speakers but would make terrible stand-up comedians. The basic skills and natural ability to “talk out loud” are there but timing, humor-sense and even brain wiring doesn’t match what’s needed to deliver adequate punchlines. Said another way, these overall “strengths” are pinged with little nuisances of weakness; ironically, we can use these “weaknesses” to make an even tighter moat around ourselves.
In interacting with our strengths, it’s a practice makes perfect-type of situation. How often do I intentionally interact with people (or myself) to ensure that I’m flexing my strength muscles? One way to do this is the literal statement of intentions to those around you that you trust that you are endeavoring to become better at a certain strength. More often than not, people will want to help you be better.
All said, our responsibility to ourselves, then, is to spend energy becoming the most of what we are built to be: by focusing in our own personal “flavor” of strength, we can create a brand by which others identify us.
How do you expand your strength? How are you creating your own brand?