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Play to Your Strengths but Don’t Overdo Them!

Tennis_Raquet_and_BallWhen preparing for interview, etiquette is that you ramp up your strengths and minimise your weaknesses. You don’t pretend that you have none because that would be a lie and it’s the quickest way to lose credibility with the interviewer.

Rather, you would identify a weakness, describe what you have done to reduce its impact on your work and then talk about how your key strength outweighs it. This way, you are not seen as boasting or arrogant; nor do you appear weak.

If we take Tennis as an example of this, Andy Murray’s weakness is his second serve. Everyone knows that it makes him vulnerable and pundits question why more players don’t take advantage of this when setting out their game plan.

His strategy for minimising the impact of a (relatively) weak second serve is to win more points on his first serve which is one of his strengths; and that approach is paying dividends – at least until he comes up against the top two players in the world.

I’m a firm believer in addressing weaknesses only to the point of reducing their impact on the business and /or your career. Other than that I encourage clients to look for ways to optimise those things they are naturally good at.

A word of caution here: there is a fine line between playing to your strengths and overdoing them. There are some tennis players in the top 100 whose primary strength is their first serve and they win a lot of matches by hitting ace after ace. However, they are unable to win the major titles because they lack the game to back up the serve, when they come up against the best returners in the game.

So, my invitation to you is to acknowledge those things that you are least good at and work on them only to the point of adequacy. Then harness your areas of strength to help you perform effectively in your role. The added benefit to you is continued job satisfaction; which is so much easier to maintain when we’re doing what comes naturally.

This week’s link is Psychometric Profiling which may be of interest if you would like to explore your natural strengths in more detail.

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