Put the spotlight on your strengths, make your weakness your blindspot
It has been more than 8 years ago since I was last profiled in StrengthsFinder and I continue to be a firm believer of the 'tool' and my profile. When people ask me what are my strengths, I always share with them my StrengthsFinder profile.
Before we go into specifics of strengths, I think it is important to first understand how Gallup classify them into 4 main themes, namely Relating, Impacting, Striving and Thinking.
Relating talents explain how someone works with people. They explain who he/she trusts, whom they build relationships with, whom they confront and whom they ignore. Are they drawn to win over strangers, or are they only at ease with their close friends. Do they trust easily, or believe trust should be earned.
Impacting talents explain how someone influences people. They explain whether he/she prefers to take charge of situations, or make everyone feel good about situations. In their interpersonal relationships, are they driven by intense competition, or by a need to develop others?
Striving talents explain what makes someone work hard. They explain why he gets out of bed every day, why he is motivated to push and push, just that little bit harder. Are they driven by a desire to stand out? Do they want to be seen as competent, or do they want to be liked?
Thinking talents explain what makes someone work smarter. They explain how he/she thinks, how they weight up alternatives, how they come to decisions. Are they focused, or do they like to leave their options open? Are they disciplined and structured, or do they love surprises? Are they a practical thinker, or do they play strategic “what if?” games in their head?
Now that you've a good understanding of the 4 main themes, the question to ask yourself is what are your strengths and which themes do they fall under? Knowing whether you are more of a Relater, Impacter or a hybrid of both helps you to unlock opportunities where you can better leverage your strengths both at work and personal life.
For example, I am a hybrid of Relater and Striver. I score high on strengths that are related to the Relating and Striving Theme. This explains my drive at work and my empathy as a HR professional. My top 5 strengths are Achiever, Communication, Developer, Discipline and Empathy. For the last 9 years of my career, I focused on honing my strengths and putting the spotlight on them. From hosting corporate events in public (communication), pushing the development agenda at work (developer), discipline (in project timelines) to empathy (managing transformation at work and treating employees with respect). Too many a time, we get asked during interviews or performance dialogue, what are your weakness(es) and spend all our life chasing them.
I am not against that - as some people are wired to achieve perfection. But life is short. Focus on the bright spots that matters. Be un-ashame of who you are, what are your strengths and let it shine at work!