by Brent M. Jones
Often in job interviews the question is asked, “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?” This can signal and enlightened HR Department, that is aware of the changes in thinking over the last decade, knowing how best to develop people by building on their strengths, rather than trying to make their weaknesses the area of focus.
Laying out your weakness can be risky. Improving under-performance comes naturally to those in leadership and coaching positions. “Spare the rod and spoil the child” is not focused at getting people to concentrate on what motivates them and gives them satisfaction in their work.
Leaders and coaches can measure changes in weakness, but they can not always see the drop-in energy and motivation that comes with it as the focus reinforces in the employee’s mind that their weaknesses really do define who they are. An improvement in weak area can lead to hating their work.
Before changing employment, or applying for a job, it will help if you can match your strengths to those needed for the job. Know yourself well enough to know what your good at. The first step in finding a new job is usually said to be networking, but before you begin working on networking you need to know what your good at, and that will tell you where to network, and what job to seek. Your better off finding a job you love than assuming you can make yourself fit in. Sometimes it is the potential employee who sets themselves up to have to work on weaknesses.
What is it that you like about your job now? What part of the day is the most satisfying? Your job description might tell you that measuring and timely reporting are your main objective, but you may find that during your average day your most satisfaction comes from conflict resolution. This suggests you start networking in areas where you can find a job that will have conflict resolution as your prime goal.
When your search brings you to the interview, lay out your strengths so that they match those needed for the job. Even if the new employer doesn’t totally understand the power of employees spending their time on the areas they have strengths, if you are well matched with what you have as strengths with, you will be much more effective and happy