Gallup defines weakness as “anything that gets in the way of your success. In a strengths-based approach, a weakness is a shortage or misapplication of talent, skill or knowledge that causes problems for you or others”. This may be your dominant CliftonStrengths ® Themes over-dialled or unconsciously applied in different situations. It may also be one of your lesser talents (Themes at the bottom of your profile) that don’t come naturally to you.

For example, at times my Communication ® Theme (no. 4) is so keen to add to the conversation, the order of my words isn’t quite right as they come out my mouth! Context ® for me is number 33 and at times I can skip or miss providing the why/purpose/bigger picture.

Here are 7 tips to help you manage your weaknesses, whilst focussing on the application of your strengths, to be your best.

Coaching – A coach can help you explore options that work best for you to manage your weaknesses. A coach won’t have the actions for you, however a good coach will encourage, challenge and work with you to identify strategies that work best for you.

Mentoring – A mentor working in the same industry or profession as you could give you some advice or guidance to help you navigate your work whilst managing your strengths so they don’t inhibit your goals.

Leveraging – If one of your team-mates or peers is dominant in a Theme that you aren’t, ask them for their perspective on a situation through a lens of their Strengths. For example, if your Strategic ® is low and theirs is high, ask “What’s a way forward you could see in this situation?”

Collaboration – Look to partner with your peers on projects where you have complimenting talents and strengths. For example, my wife and I organise a conference where my Responsibility ® and Communication ® partners with her Activator ® and Connectedness ®. I bring the focus on doing what we say and talking through our challenges and she brings the action and the bigger picture.

Delegation – Explore options to delegate a task, where the task aligns better to someone’s talents and strengths. Example tasks could be presenting at a meeting or developing a process.

Systemising – Implementing a system to support you in those areas that you aren’t as strong in. For example a team low in Strategic thinking themes implemented a process to ensure Strategy was a more deliberate focus in their meetings. Another example is Focus ® is low for me, so I need to set myself little rewards when working, (i.e. don’t get my coffee until the work is done!)

Focus – You have access to all 34 CliftonStrengths ® Themes, sometimes you just need to dig deep and focus!

It all starts with awareness, to identify potential weaknesses, ask yourself…

  • Does this theme ever undermine my success?
  • Have I ever received negative or constructive feedback related to this theme?
  • Does my role require me to use this theme, but I feel drained when I do?
  • How are you showing up? What trips you up? What gets in the way of achieving your goals?
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