What are you good at?

Do you even know?

During a training this week, the instructor asked us “what’s the best thing about you?” and I had no idea how to answer that. Then it went into “what are your strengths?” and I wrote some stuff down but it still felt like I was half making it up. I’m not sure what I’m good at.

The book First, Break All The Rules talks about how great managers foster people’s strengths rather than fixing their weaknesses. Here’s the money quote:

People don’t change that much. Don’t waste time trying to put in what was left out. Try to draw out what was left in. That is hard enough.

It goes on to say:

Skills, knowledge, and talents are distinct elements of a person’s performance. The distinction among the three is that skills and knowledge can easily be taught, whereas talents cannot. Combined in the same person, they create an enormously potent compound. But you must never confuse talents with skills and knowledge. If you do, you may waste a great deal of time and money trying to teach something that is fundamentally unteachable.

The whole “stop trying to fix an unfixable weakness” thing has thrown me for a heck of a loop, so I’m going to have to ponder on that. But the first step is to list my strengths and the strengths of my direct reports, so that I can draw them out. As the book says, that is hard enough.

According to the StrengthsFinder assessment, my top five are:

  • Individualization
  • Harmony
  • Input
  • Arranger
  • Intellection

Now what do I do with that information…

Do you know your strengths?

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