Strengths are Weaknesses. Weaknesses are Strengths.

The title is not doublespeak, but something I’ve observed a lot lately. Starting this year, everybody at my work gets feedback every 6 months by 3-5 peers. In the conversations I’ve witnessed so far, there’s a recurring theme:

Our biggest strengths from “What you do great” reappear in the “What you could try” column with a cautionary flag. For example, I’m a generalist. It’s probably my biggest strength. I’m fairly good in a variety of roles. The swiss army knife of employees, if you will. My biggest weakness is that I’m not an expert in anything. Two faces of the same coin.

A colleague of mine had the poles “Very structured. Owning and improving the process” versus “Falling too much in love with the details of the process”.

The feedback conversations nicely illustrate the trade off and sweet spot inherent in any of our traits.

Mark Manson observed the same thing for cultures of countries:

The best part of a country or culture is also usually the worst

What is your strength-weakness pair?

4 Comments Strengths are Weaknesses. Weaknesses are Strengths.

  1. Sebastian Thiebes

    Thanks for this little nudge. I believe that to not “go overboard” with any one of your qualities, you have to have a balancing, counter-quality.

    In the case of being structured, the unhealthy extreme is being rigid. To balance this you need flexibility – not simply the absence of being structured, which could degenerate into just being chaotic

    This concept has been nicely laid out in the Werte- und Entwicklungsquadrat by Friedemann Schulz von Thun

    1. Corinna Baldauf

      I’d had never heard of this square. Very insightful addition! Thanks for pointing it out!

    1. Corinna Baldauf

      Thanks, Lexi! At first glance I don’t see a difference to the Werte- und Entwicklungsquadrat. Is there one? What’s the distinguishing factor?

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