As you know, I’m a huge believer in using your strengths as they help you reach your goals faster, smarter and more efficiently. Even though I’m all about focusing on what we are good at, I’m not oblivious to the fact that we have weaknesses. We do-it’s just a fact. We aren’t good at everything and when we are aware of our weaknesses we are better able to work around them.
But let me throw a curve ball at you… everything that isn’t a strength doesn’t mean it’s a weakness. It could be a “non-talent”. I know what you’re thinking… “what on earth are you talking about?”
According to Gallup, “a non-talent isn’t a weakness until it impedes productivity.” In basic terms, a non-talent is something that doesn’t come naturally to you but until it gets in your way of accomplishing something- it isn’t considered a weakness.
So, what does this mean? That we can work on our non-talents so they don’t become weaknesses. We have the power and the opportunity to manage around our non-talents and help them not slip to the dark side.. weaknesses.
According to Gallup there are six ways to deal with non-talents. Let’s take a deep dive and evaluate them.
Open Communication and Transparency
Ain’t nobody got time for you to pretend you know what you’re doing but you don’t! Have an open line of communication and ask for help if you need it. This isn’t a chance for you to take everything you do off your plate or shirk responsibilities because you aren’t “good at them.”
This is the opportunity to be open with your team about what you might feel more comfortable doing and what you bring to the table. Use this as a chance to find ways to use your strengths, and develop more meaningful and open relationships with your coworkers.
Get the Right Training
Training is where it’s at! We can always learn something whether it’s in a book, online, webinar, course, from a friend, etc. Think about what you might be missing and see if there is some sort of training around it. Remember, you aren’t going to be able to make your non-talent into a strength but you can learn the basics to get by.
Coming from someone who always strives for the best, I still believe that sometimes we just have to get by. I’m never going to be a graphic designer but I can do some research and do the best I can with what I have and then try to outsource the rest. Sometimes we just need to get things done and learning the basics can go a long way. This can also be helpful if you try to find someone to work with so you know exactly what type of help and support you need.
Leverage Other Talents
We aren’t good at everything, sorry friends, we just aren’t. And you know what…that’s OK! Once we have identified our strengths and talents we can rely on them and use them more as our anchor. If there is a piece to the puzzle missing, think about it and see if any of your other talents can be helpful to the task itself or can help you find someone or something that would make the task easier.
I’m not a huge fan of numbers and analytics. Sometimes I wish it was my jam since it would make somethings easier but it’s not and I have accepted that. When I make decisions it’s usually based on my gut, research, educated guesses and a little bit of data. If I want to take my business to the next level, I need to analyze data a little more and I know I don’t have the talents to do that. I heavily rely on my relationship building skills and have surrounded myself with a network that helps and supports one another in different areas using their strengths.
Use Your Support System
Remember, we can’t go out things alone. It’s so important to have a support system and accountability partners who we can rely on to bounce ideas off of, provide advice and most importantly their support.
I used to go at my goals and job alone and completely and totally burned out! I quickly realized that if I am going to get anywhere, I need to find people who want me to succeed as much as I do.
Form Complementary Partnerships
When looking at your strengths as a whole, what are you missing? It’s important to find someone that has different talents who is able to not only challenge you but can fill in the gaps where you might be missing something.
At the office, my best working relationships are with people who think differently than I do. Many of my strengths are in relationship building and partnering with someone who thinks more strategically and analytically always brings a fresh new perspective.
Adjust and Change Your Role
If you are constantly struggling in your current position or with certain responsibilities think about ways you can change your role. Is it possible to speak with your supervisor to adjust your tasks? Is there a new role that would better use your strengths? Think about your responsibilities as a whole and how aligned they are with your talents.
I’ve set up one-on-one meetings with my supervisor and outlined my current duties and where we could adjust. I came with solutions as well as other responsibilities that interested me and relied on my strengths. It was helpful for us to sit together with an open mind and a bigger picture of my job functions.
As you think about your strengths, non-talents, and weaknesses; look at these six areas to see what can be improved upon. We have the chance to help our non-talents from turning into weaknesses by relying more heavily on our strengths, finding partnerships, being more transparent and identifying and adjusting our current responsibilities.
What have you done to manage around your non-talents?
She provides training, consulting, and speaking services to organizations all over the world. She has an MEd in Social and Comparative Analysis in Education from the University of Pittsburgh and is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach. Her work helps to bridge communication gaps across generations, job functions, and geographies, and she has worked with organizations ranging from non-profits to multi-billion-dollar enterprises. She has delivered a TEDx talk on authentic workplace communication, and has been featured in media outlets including Forbes, ABC, FOX, and CBS. Her book, Humanize Your Workplace (Career Press), is set to release next year.
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