Marcus Buckingham spoke today on strengths. His philosophy for the last several years is that we must identify our strengths and operate primarily out of them instead of focusing so much time on our weaknesses.
“Build on your strengths and manage around the weaknesses…we feel we need to focus on our weaknesses because we fear they could hurt us. In a world that does not know you, how are you able to offer the best of who you are?”
He then defined strengths and weaknesses this way:
Strengths – a strength is an activity that makes you feel strong. Weakness – a weakness is an activity that makes you feel weak or depletes you.
He then added that just because we are good at something does not necessarily make it a strength. Some of us can do any number of things and can do them well so we are asked to continually do them. We may be astounding at that task, but it may suck the life out of us.
Here’s a personal example. I currently perform a TON of administrative tasks. I plan details for missions trips, I plan leadership summits, I plan leadership conferences, I plan youth camps, I plan youth convention. I administrate A LOT and I’m told I’m quite good at it – but it sucks the life out of me. It doesn’t make me feel strong. What does? Talking vision, teaching, conceptualizing, dreaming, engaging in deep thought, meeting people and hearing their story, being able to connect people to their passions and watch them flourish.
So who do I need around me? Nuts and bolts people. People that will allow me to dream and will run with the details. People that create lists, manage databases…people that are able to think through process and form reality from vision.
The beauty of how we’re created is that one persons weakness is another persons strength. I have a friend that LOVES to do administrative work! She loves creating databases and compiling lists and sending emails and mailing letters and organizing events! We must encourage people to operate in their strengths. A wasted strength is a sundial in the shade.
I’ll be exploring this much more with my leaders when I get back home – I’m looking forward to it.