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July 2014
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Celebrating the Whole You

Posted by: Trudy Bailey, Capp

 

I have spent many years working with Realise2, Capp’s strengths identification tool which includes weaknesses. It still frustrates me a little how slow the journey can be, for some people to accept their weaknesses, mitigate them and move on. In this blog, I share some reflections that might help your weaknesses sit more comfortably with you.

 

What’s the real story?

 

In my experience, if you resonate with your Realise2 weakness, it is very likely something that has been with you for some time and possibly tripped you up at some point. With our 4M Model we recommend you Minimise it, which means: don’t use it; ask others to support you; and focus on the outcome, delivering this with your strengths.

 

My Adherence weakness is here to stay (along with most of the UK!) and I work around it. I know who to call on, when to own it and how I can use my strengths of Pride and Order to support me in overcoming it.

 

Too hard on yourself?

 

Perhaps others around you do this better than you, so you have been particularly hard on yourself. Personally, Scribe is one for me that pops up in this category. I’m surrounded by people with PhDs and so occasionally feel that my talent in this area needs more of a polish. 

 

Revisit your weakness and gather your evidence of when you have done this well before. And choose your comparisons carefully!

 

Frustrated?

 

Sometimes I coach people where they feel one of their strengths has appeared as a weakness (in Realise2). This usually is a sign something simply isn’t working for them in this area. Perhaps it is the way they are using it, or they are not using it at all.

 

Help others to see when they have been successful in this before. What constraints exist around the weakness currently ? See if you  can find ways to release more energy into these tasks.

 

Be Realistic

 

If you were to rate the impact of your weakness that you felt you needed to work on, how critical would it be? Asking clients to do this can immediately eliminate that need to ‘fix’ it by being realistic in terms of how it is really impacting their role. The need to be perfect sometimes raises its head in places it doesn’t need to.

 

And, even better, revealing weaknesses can be extremely positive:

 

  • Weaknesses help us build trust with others. According to Goffee & Jones in Why Should Anyone Be Led By You? if we reveal our weaknesses we become more human and attractive to others.
  • It also helps highlight your team’s strengths. Often, when you delegate your weakness to others, you open up opportunities for them to take on responsibility for tasks that allow their strengths to shine through.

 

So, what are you waiting for? Delegate and be proud to have a couple of things you don’t do so well! After all, none of us is perfect…

 

Contact trudy.bailey@capp.co to understand how Realise2 can support you, your teams, managers and leaders.

 

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3 Responses to Celebrating the Whole You

  • Judy Krings says:

    Hi, Trudy.

    When I coach with Realise2, I re-frame the word “weakness” with “growth opportunity” or “challenge”. This is just me perhaps, but as a positive psychology coach, the weakness word is tough to swallow. Rather, it is just not how you show up.

    I ask, do you feel this is valid? Do you WANT to show up differently? If so, great and off we go. Sometimes I have execs who LIKE that weakness and do not want to be coached around it. If they think it serves them (and we dance around that sometimes!), then it is their choice. I will ask them how this “weakness” impacts others to try to get a social and emotional intelligence insight that might ring a bell for an action plan development.

    Negativity is a normal and accepted part of life. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy/Techniques are grand here in conjunction with Realise2. I tend to see life as moving forward rather than problematic weaknesses that need to be solved. As you said, Trudy, be open to how you see life and strengths and strengths you want to stretch.

    Many thanks.

  • Adrian Lock says:

    Judy, I like your positive approach as a coach to your clients’ weaknesses. At the same time I have a few reservations with what you have just said. There can be dangers in encouraging people to think of their strengths as ‘growth opportunities’. Part of the philosophy of Realise 2 and strengths-based approaches, as I understand them, is to help people to accept their weaknesses – particularly if they are not mission-critical. In my 25 plus years experience as a coach I more often find that people are too obsessed and focussed on their weak areas and part of the challenge is to take their attention away from their weaknesses – help them to find ways of managing them, and then focus of developing and realising their strengths. I am with Meredith Belbin of Team Roles fame when he describes weaknesses as often being ‘overdone strengths’. I know this isn’t always true, but at times a person who has eg ‘detail’ as a strength can overdo it and become nitpicking and really annoying. I often describe such overdone strengths as wild horses that need training. Let to its own devices a wild horse may trample on the flowerbeds and eat your best blooms. When trained and disciplined, it can gallop with a sense of direction and really take you places. Likewise I encourage people not to squash their overdone strengths (often they have had negative feedback and are tempted to do just that) but to rein them in and become more skilful at handling them. If they squash them (or simply keep them locked up in a stable, to continue the horse analogy) they are constraining a natural part of themselves that needs to be expressed. They need to express these strengths, but with more skill.

    Sometimes a person wants to work on a weakness because they have ‘strength-envy’. The flip-side of their weakness is the strength they would like to have. Perhaps this strength appears more ‘sexy’ than their own. I see it as part of my job as a coach to help them be more comfortable in their own skin: to celebrate the strengths they have and accept those they don’t have. I remember once coaching a young high potential accountant who rather apologetically and sheepishly told me, that she just “loves spreadsheets”. She was envious of those who had more strategic strengths. I encouraged her to celebrate that passion and not be ashamed of it, even if it did seem a bit geeky. Thank God someone likes spreadsheets, or where would we be?! Hope these reflections are helpful.

    • Trudy Bailey says:

      Adrian, some great points. I have Counterpoint as one of my top strengths so I quite enjoy the hard work sometimes in getting the weakness message across. For me, one of the first ways to help someone is to simply recgonise the context around it. If they start off my saying “I have always”….. my belief is we are fighting a losing battle. Sometimes, however, we just aren’t feeling that great at the moment. What I love about the topic is watching someone’s face when the lightbulb goes off, “oh, it is that simple, pass it on, I don’t need to be brilliant at everything” moment. I ran a team event once when communication was not great and simply by owning the weaknesses, my job was done, the atmosphere changed. Lastly, sometimes it is difficult getting people to realise that just because you don’t like something, there are others that do! Reluctance to pass on a task.
      With regard to the overplayed strengths, I try to get them to think about the sustainability and impact on others if they can’t see it for themselves. We typically have 1 or 2 favourites and without dialling these down a little, we can miss our unrealised strengths.

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