Making a Weakness a Strength

I believe you should use most of your time and energy focusing on your strengths. However, leaders must reserve some time to improve their weaknesses.  

The first step in any improvement is awareness. It is difficult, if not impossible, to improve weaknesses if you are not aware of them. Seeing yourself in action or paying close attention can help you identify your weaknesses. Getting honest feedback from those you respect is a gift, so receive feedback with an open mind. However, if you receive a singular piece of feedback from someone, verify it with others as well since feedback is subjective.

Critical feedback without compassion is a form of abuse.
— Greg Bell

After you identify a weakness you want to improve, create a 90-day game plan. Creating a well-thought strategy on paper will increase your chances of success. What should be in your game plan to improve weaknesses?  

  • Identify your “why.” Get clear about why you want to improve the weakness and what you expect as an outcome once your weakness is developed. 

  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Avoid trying to tackle too many “weaknesses” at a time. Focus on developing one or two weaknesses at a time. 

  • Timeline. Create a weakness development timeline broken up into 30, 60, or 90-day intervals with action items along the way. Make sure to choose only high-value activities and action items that will help transform the weakness into a strength. 

  • Set a goal. Identify your goal and make it a SMART goal (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely). For example – in 90 days, I will listen without interrupting during one on one meetings. 

  • Find models and mentors. A great way to develop weaknesses is to learn from existing models and mentors. In other words, the weakness you wish to develop has already been mastered by others, so why not go directly to the source? 

  • Make mistakes and learn from them. Ensure you leave yourself time to reflect on mistakes and learn. Setbacks and missteps are part of the improvement process.

You want to be sure you pursue progress, not perfection
— Greg Bell