“Oh no, here we go again” thought Joe as his Quality Assurance Analyst Heidi approached him with his memo, complete with typos circled in red ink. He was not really annoyed by Heidi, she was just doing what she does; he mainly felt embarrassed. After all as the leader shouldn’t all of his work be perfect? He tried, he really did, but editing his own writing was just boring to him and not one of his strengths.

Later that day in his team meeting he watched as Jonathan his Senior Business Analyst did an amazing job in presenting the detailed business requirements for their most recent project. Joe found himself thinking, “Wow I wish I could be that comfortable discussing detailed information in front of an audience.”

Of course Joe was being completely human and focusing on his weaknesses and not his strengths. He was not giving himself credit for the fact that he was one of the best resources around to bring a team together and to facilitate the creation of an implementation plan. He was magnificent at sharing the vision and communicating why an effort was so important to the future of the company. He did an amazing job at looking at the big picture and at foreseeing risks that could impact the project. He just did not thrive in the world of details.

Too bad Joe did not know about the concept of playing to his strengths. As he sat and watched Heidi coming to him to show him his typos or applauded Jonathan’s skill in discussing detail; Joe was thinking “I should be able to do that.” The truth is Joe does not have to be able to do everything perfectly. That is a myth that will do nothing but bring Joe grief. Instead of worrying about his imperfections Joe should play to his strengths. His team respects and admires him because of his strategic nature. He brings them and all of their various details together and helps them see where it all belongs in relationship to the big picture. He keeps them moving when they get bogged down in the details.

Joe is lucky; he just does not see it yet. Why is he lucky? He has two people on his team who happen to possess strengths where he does not. What a terrific opportunity to allow others to leverage their strengths. Heidi is not finding Joe’s typos to torment him, she truly enjoys editing. Jonathan is the perfect go-to resource to present detailed information. Joe and Jonathan could even co-present, Joe doing the lead in and the wrap up while Jonathan dives into the details.

You would think a strategic thinker like Joe would understand this. But like the rest of us Joe is human. He was probably taught to work harder at the things he did not do well. A smarter approach would be to get even better and stronger at the areas where you naturally excel. These also tend to be the areas where you enjoy working. For example, Joe hates writing detailed memos. He can’t wait to be finished. He enjoys speaking to groups but does not like to get into the low level details. He does some of these things because he is convinced that he must. Yet as we can all see there is another way.

If Joe played to his strengths and partnered more or delegated tasks where he did not excel to others, the work would still get completed. Joe would not be shirking his duties and he would still be a good leader. In fact he would be an even better leader.

It is easy for us to see this in Joe and to discuss what Joe needs to do. Now what about YOU? Are YOU Playing to YOUR Strengths?

For more information on leveraging your strengths investigate “Strengthsfinder 2.0” by Tom Rath or see the many excellent works by Marcus Buckingham. Both have excellent resources available for you to further your learning on how playing to your strengths can make a huge difference in your life.

Author's Bio: 

Margaret developed a passionate belief that it takes courage and skill to be human at work and that all individuals have a responsibility to treat each other with dignity, respect and compassion.

Motivated by her beliefs and the desire to make a difference in the lives of others, Margaret acted on her vision by founding Meloni Coaching Solutions, Inc. Her vision is to create a group of successful individuals who are at peace with their authentic selves; a group of people who help and support others; a group who bring humanity to the office and thrive because of it. Margaret sees a world where achieving peace and achieving success go hand-in-hand.

Margaret’s students and clients often find that what she really brings them is freedom to bring their authentic selves to the office. As a former Information Technology Executive, Margaret always knew her preference was for the people behind the technology. Now Margaret brings those beliefs to individuals from many professional backgrounds. The common thread across her client base is the desire to experience peace at work and the recognition that peace is not absence of conflict, peace is the ability to cope with conflict. For these people, Margaret Meloni is truly ‘A Path to Peace’. ™

You can learn more about Margaret and her courses, programs, and products at: www.MargaretMeloni.com

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