7 steps towards overcoming workplace weaknesses
“Every weakness contains within itself a strength.” ― Shūsaku End
Everyone has their achilles heel – that thing they just aren’t good at, either because of lack of interest, lack of ability or lack of practice (or a combination of all three). In every career field, there are certain things that you’re going to have to do that aren’t exactly your strength. What you can do, instead of avoiding or slacking off on those weaknesses in the workplace, is actually make a point to become better at them. Here’s how:
1. Understand where you fall short
You can’t improve on your weaknesses without first understanding what they are. Consult trusted colleagues, former bosses or supervisors and also spend some time thinking about it yourself. Make a list of things that you struggle with and then pick one that you feel most holds you back. Some examples could be public speaking, time management or lack of focus.
2. Enlist your support system
Talk to your friends and colleagues about how you want to improve and ask for their support. It’s amazing what a little encouragement from people who truly care about you can do when you’re feeling frustrated.
3. Educate yourself
Do some research about how other people have overcome their workplace weaknesses. Try to understand the reasons why you’re struggling in a certain area and read about what could help you. Realize also that there are people out there that struggle with similar things and have found ways to get better.
4. Make goals for yourself and work to meet them
Commit time and effort towards improving on your weaknesses. Take a theater or communications class if what you struggle with is public speaking, for example. If networking makes you cringe, make a goal of going to 3 networking events in the month and making at least 2 contacts at each event. Set small goals and deadlines for when you want them accomplished.
5. Celebrate small achievements
After you’ve made small challenges for yourself, and met them, take time to celebrate. It’s important to be happy with your achievements, even if they seem minimal. Being good at something you’re already talented at is one thing – becoming better at something you struggle with is the real accomplishment.
6. Don’t forget what you’re good at
For some reason we all remember the negative feedback much more than the positive. While focusing on improving your weaknesses, don’t forget to also recognize all of the wonderful things that you bring to the table as an employee. Let the confidence you have gained from your strengths help you to tackle your weaknesses with even more gusto.
7. Work with people who complement you well
One of the great things about working in a team is that everyone brings something different to the table. We’re all working with certain advantages and disadvantages, so it’s good to find people who can compensate for areas where you may be lacking. Also, by interacting with people with different strengths you can also learn from them by observing and emulating their behavior.
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Photo 3. based on Elie!, by Kai Chan Vong, CC-by-2.0