How to Parlay Your Team’s Weaknesses into Strengths

In a perfect world, your team would be great at everything they did and they would be successful 100% of the time.  However, it is an imperfect world and we all have to face the fact that we are good at some things and not so great at others.  When you are a manager, this can be frustrating because you want your team to perform at its best all the time.  Managers can be tempted to push employees so hard trying to “change” them when in fact “leopards don’t just change their spots.”  The truth is we can’t necessarily change our employees so managers need to adopt the mindset that through conditioning and hard work they can transform those weaknesses into strengths.  Here are a few strategies for helping your employees grow and improve their skills.

Recognize the Weakness

You can’t possibly turn a weakness into a strength if you deny the weakness exists.  Therefore, the first step is recognizing the weaknesses that exist on your team.   Admitting the weakness will allow you to be mindful of it in the future and brainstorm ways in which you can improve it.

Change the Way Your Employees See Weaknesses

People tend to hide their flaws for fear of being judged or labeled a failure.  Instead, they should be looking at the flaws as a “to-do” list of things to improve.  Help your team embrace the weaknesses that exist and commit to a long-term learning process.  As a manager, it’s important not to condemn team members for their weaknesses, but rather encourage them to look at it from a different perspective.  Employees need to understand that everyone has areas of weakness and a great employee is one who isn’t afraid to step outside their comfort zone to pursue excellence.

Feed Off of Other’s Strengths

You might have an employee who is unable to perform a certain task but there will always be someone else who can. One of the best ways to address a weakness is to pair up an employee who is weak in a certain area with someone else who is great at it.  Pairing up with a mentor gives the employee a chance to observe and learn from their teammate.  If your team is going to be a team, they must learn to appreciate each other’s strengths. After all, everyone is in it together.

Treat Weaknesses Like a Blindspot

We can’t change something we don’t see, and the truth is we are all blind to certain things.  It is important to ask other team members that we know and trust to seek out the areas of weakness that we might be blind to.  Encourage team members to keep an open mind and allow others to share a fresh perspective.  It’s a great way to build trust and cohesiveness among team members while also tackling areas of weakness. Blindspots are inevitable and employees should seek the advice of others to help them.

Play to Your Strengths

One might think that the best way to improve a weakness is to focus on that weakness until we become an expert at it.  However, being fixated on weakness does more damage than good.  Instead, we should tackle our weaknesses by focusing on our strengths.  Everyone has unique talents and strengths and we can apply those strengths to help us overcome weakness.  For example, you might have a fear of public speaking but you are an expert on a particular topic.  Improve your public speaking skills by speaking on the topic in which you are so proficient.  Your expertise on the topic will help compensate for your lack of public speaking skills.  In a sense, you are overwhelming your weakness with a strength.