When we prepare for our performance review, we usually reflect on our strengths and weaknesses. In the forms, our weaknesses are often euphemistically described as “areas for improvement”. This is immediately followed by the development plan, suggesting that we should focus on improving our weaknesses. This is nonsense!
Every person is different, and that is a good thing. Everyone has their personality and their own set of talents. As children, we may dream of becoming world champions in the 100m run. If we lack the appropriate physiognomy, we will never reach the top despite all our training efforts and support. That is also not bad.
Everyone has something he or she is best at. That’s what we have to find out and develop. Only in our talents can be successful on a professional level. We should only compensate for our weaknesses to the extent that they otherwise hinder us in our social environment.
For example, if someone is bad at communicating with others, he or she should learn the basics to be able to express his or her needs appreciatively. This helps to get along in the social environment and to avoid conflicts. Such a person will never become the head of a communications department. But others have a natural talent for communication and only need to learn the specific tools of the area.
If someone is introverted, I don’t have to force him into the spotlight. He will never become a front man. However, good presenters will always appreciate the hard-working experts who competently prepare the presentation material for them. So, everyone finds his place in the cooperation.
If you only look at the “areas for improvement”, you neglect your talent. By focusing on the “bad sides” you make yourself small and destroy self-confidence.
Also, the team does not benefit from mediocre generalists. If someone likes to cook, everyone will be very grateful. No one will force him to become navigator – just because he has marked his navigation skills as „area for development” before the sailing trip.
In this respect, care is required both in self-reflection and, above all, in the development of employees. If you want to grow as a person, you should be aware of your strengths and take care of them. This way you and the team will get the most out of it. This is where the highest potential for development lies.
What about you?
Do you know your strengths and weaknesses?
What do you focus on in your personal development?
How do you help your employees to grow?