What’s Your Biggest Weakness At Work?

Sunday, 23rd April, 2017

Those of you who’ve worked with me will know that I’m generally up-beat and have a positive outlook on life. So why the negative topic?

Over the Easter break I had to take a long, hard look at my general day-to-day and at-work habits, following a string of viruses over the Spring Term. I seemed to spend the whole term feeling unwell or having no energy. This was compounded by the fact that it was my busiest spring term since I started my business!

The conclusion I came to was … I’m a workaholic and a perfectionist. I think that actually being a perfectionist comes first and results in me being a workaholic!

Being a perfectionist for me means I have high expectations of myself, which can result in taking a long time to complete a task, as I want it to be ‘right’ before I say it’s done. This can also include a lot of procrastination.

Does this sound familiar to you?

So I’d say my biggest weakness at work is ‘perfectionism’. So why is this helpful?

Nowadays, when I think of things I’m not good at, I tap into all my experience and coaching & personal development training to look at things differently. Much of what I’ve learnt (and continue to learn) I share in my blog posts and newsletters. So the key message I want to share with you here is:

You need to think about your weaknesses differently. Think of them as something you’re doing well (a strength), but overdoing, or doing too well (an overdone strength)!

turning my weakness into strengths concept -handwriting on a napkin with a cup of espresso coffee

For example:

  • If you’re very confident at doing something, and you overdo this, you can become cocky or arrogant when doing it or talking about it.
  • If you’re a trusting person, and you trust that everyone has good intentions towards you, you can become gullible and susceptible to people taking advantage of you.
  • If you relish a challenge, and this inspires you to be creative and to push yourself … if you overdo this strength you can take on too much, and get frustrated if you can’t see it through to the end, or your day-to-day essentials get pushed to the side resulting in last minute panic to get stuff done (or worse – you miss an important deadline).

When I did my PGCert in Coaching in 2004-05, I completed the Strength Deployment Inventory test as part of my training. One of the key outcomes from this, and quite a revelation for me at the time, was part of the report included a list of my strengths AND also what happens when I overdo these.

Then in 2015 I trained to become licensed to administer the MTQ48 Measure – a test to identify your strengths in the 4 areas of mental toughness. For people who score highly on any of these areas (control, confidence, commitment & challenge), the report identifies which behaviours you could manifest that could be counterproductive.

For example:

One of the 4 areas – Control – is split into Emotional Control (EC) and Life Control (LC). Someone scoring high on EC will generally be able to control their anxieties and are unlikely to lose their cool in stressful situations. However, they need to ensure their ‘supercoolness’ doesn’t result in becoming too laid back and complacent (strength & overdone strength).

So which strength(s) am I overdoing which result in my ‘perfectionist’ tendencies?

My high expectations come from a position of wanting to be the best I can be. Always striving for different ways to develop myself, and then passing my learning on to those I work with in schools and beyond. There are many positive benefits – both to me and my clients – of having this strength … I just need to be careful that it doesn’t become all consuming, and take time out more to relax and re-energise!

To conclude … which strengths are you overdoing? How do they manifest themselves, and how will you recognise the point when you’re overdoing your strength? I usually think of this as the ‘tipping point’, and recognise it when frustration of tiredness sets in.