Empathy, kindness, emotional intelligence. These are some great strengths, right? Absolutely.
But, when they’re turned up too high, and used in excess, they can become problematic: … Not being able to disconnect, taking on others’ problems, reading too much into situations.
What about drive, ambition, perseverance? When overused, these strengths might lead to aggression, dominance, a ‘win-at-all-costs’ mindset and a lack of care and regard for others.
We’ve all got strengths, which means we’re all likely to overuse them.
So, how do we know if we are?
The answer to this ultimately requires self-awareness and reflection.
Here are three things for you consider:
1. How do you use your strengths when you’re stressed?
If ‘attention to detail’ is your strength, do you find yourself micromanaging?
If ‘collaboration’ is your strength, do you find yourself being overly consultative?
2. Have you received any feedback that relates to your strengths?
If being ‘assertive’ is your strength, have you received feedback that you can be abrasive?
If being a ‘team player’ is your strength, have you received feedback that you take on too much? 3. Do you over-rely on your strengths?
If ‘compassion’ is your strength, do you feel you lack the skills to have a tough conversation?
If ‘independence’ is your strength, do you feel you lack the skills to work effectively in a team?
What can you do to manage your strengths?
Firstly, you need to discover them — because we each have a unique profile.
Then, you need to practice self-awareness and reflect on them regularly.
Seek feedback — understand how you’re perceived by others.
Be present. Notice how you respond in different situations and course-correct if needed.
Take breaks. Give yourself time and space to recharge and reset.
Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Think or do something that’s different to your default.
Using your strengths can be incredibly valuable in work-life. It can make you feel energised, engaged, and fulfilled. And it can enhance your wellbeing and make you happier.
Using strengths can improve job satisfaction, performance and boost your confidence and self-esteem. But we need to be mindful that at times, we might be overusing them, and this can have negative consequences.