A company may have the most advanced technology and the best product in the market, but it is essentially the people within the firm that make it great. Hiring the right fit in itself is challenging, and the process doesn’t end once that person is appointed. Engaging the hired talent, together with building on their strengths and overcoming their personal blind spots are all part and parcel of the process of talent development which in turn, affects talent retention.
We all know that focusing on people’s strengths has a positive effect on morale and performance. But have we considered the angle of going overboard, and causing negative side-effects? Consider the following:
- Using strengths as an excuse to avoid uncomfortable discussions with employees. For example, “Everyone knows that he is difficult to work with and shirks his responsibilities. No one wants to work with him and clients complain about him, but he’s a really good analyst. Let’s not rock the boat.”
- Hiding behind strengths as an excuse for bad behavior. For example, “I’m sorry that I snapped at you. I have a short fuse. That’s just how I am. Social sensitivity is not my strength, you’ll just have to accept that.”
On the flipside, blind spots shouldn’t always have a negative connotation to it. They should be included in the self-awareness and development process. Acknowledging that every strength has a blind spot is essential in self-improvement and is the fundamental step to advancement.
Here are some ways that I believe acknowledging strengths and personal blind spots can be beneficial:
- Practical applications, methodical practices, and details come naturally to me, but at times, I miss the big picture and sometimes forget why I’m actually working on a task or how my actions affect the entire operation. Is there someone in my team who can nudge me to appreciate a wider perspective?
- Data researching and in-depth study of an issue is a natural go-to for me. However, I may be analysing too deeply and overthinking the matter. Did I consider how others might feel about the issue before acting on it?
- I’m pretty intuitive about people and social decisions, and because of this, I make decisions based on relationships too often. For example, “Will doing this make them unhappy?” This may not always be beneficial to the organisation. Is there a process or proper channel I should be looking into before jumping to a firm decision?
- Exciting new ideas and visions about the future come to me very often, I tell the team about them and explain the goal at the end. However, working on the details to reaching the goal is exhausting and confusing. Is there a process within reaching that goal that I should be considering which is not feasible or takes more time to conceptualise?
We all have individual strengths and personal blind spots, and there are many ways to make them work for us rather than against us. Don’t be afraid to discover yours and embrace them.
Here at Emergenetics, we are proud to have Whole Emergenetics Teams (WEteams™), where we appreciate each strength and blind spot, and bring out the best in one another. The results include having happier and more productive teams where we help in the development of unique talents.
(This post was originally written for the Asia-Pacific Emergenetics Associate blog InterWEave.)