Think about your day yesterday. Were you asked to do something you just don’t like to do or didn’t feel like you are good at? More than likely, yes, and it probably happened at least once.
Now, how did you respond? Be honest… because your response actually reveals a lot about you.
Each of us have natural strengths and inherent liabilities. Strengths are generally easier to identify. They often show up as our natural abilities, the things we seem to know how to do or how to handle without much thought. Your strengths could show up as your ability to be direct in your communication, to connect easily with others, to be detail-oriented or even to be competitive.
Liabilities, however, tend to be attributes we shy away from because we’re not intrinsically good at them, frequently because they are the opposite of our strengths. This makes sense. If you’re naturally strong at something, then you can’t be strong at its opposite. If you are determined and direct, you are probably not easy-going and a good listener.
And this is ok.
Learning about your liabilities is not a judging moment. They aren’t weaknesses to fix. Liabilities can never be fixed; they are the result of you being stronger on the other side. Liabilities, however, can – and should – be managed.
Easier said than done, I know. I personally struggled with this as I started my coaching career. To acknowledge my liabilities was one thing, but to take the time to understand them and ensure I’m checking in on them was hard because, quite frankly, those liabilities are things I’m just not good at. And, if we’re being honest, there’s a bit of an ego play there, too. To pay attention, on purpose, to the things you’re just not good at is hard.
But having the information about both your strengths and liabilities enables you to more effectively use and manage them. For example, as a competitive person with a direct communication style, you thrive in situations where you can win. But, one day, you may find yourself in a team setting. Being self-aware lets you recognize that working with a team is a liability and you therefore need to manage it. Perhaps you find a way to take lead of the team. Perhaps you encourage a friendly competition within the team to challenge everyone to think more creatively. A number of options exist! But you can’t do this without understanding the role both your strengths and liabilities play in every situation.
At The Forte Factor, we developed our own performance assessment tool that provides our coaching clients with insights into their strengths and liabilities, giving them greater self-awareness to know how to lead with their strengths, manage their liabilities and use them intentionally in both work and life.
So, the next time you’re asked to do something you don’t love to do or know you’re just not good at, how can you use the knowledge of your strengths and liabilities to show up as your best self?
Important Questions from a Coach:
1. How aware are you of your own strengths and liabilities?
2. Think of one of your liabilities. What is something you can do today to manage (not fix) that liability?
3. How will you stop yourself from passing judgement as you gain awareness of your liabilities?