Turning Weaknesses into Strengths

We all know our limitations. You may feel uncomfortable confronting conflict or criticizing a coworker or client. Almost everyone has habits that limit performance. The challenge we face is first to confront our weaknesses and then figure out how to overcome them. Change is hard. That's why it is not surprising that a recent survey found fewer than 10% of employees change habits or performance when advised to do so following a performance review.

When you have to confront a difficult project or engage in situations that make you uncomfortable, most likely, you will put off the unpleasant or challenging task by checking emails frequently, taking a break, returning calls, etc. You should be aware of what you do to avoid a difficult assignment or task and try to avoid replicating those behaviors and actions. New York Times bestselling author Joseph Grenny calls these situations crucial moments. To become more comfortable, address unpleasant challenges head-on even if you only focus on the challenge for a few minutes each day.

Practice will make perfect. Not all unpleasant situations will cause you to break out into a sweat—practice responses to uncomfortable situations in those incidents that are less taxing. Afterward, do a debrief with yourself and evaluate your performance and stress level. Over time, you will become more comfortable in these arduous situations.

The third key to turning weaknesses into strengths is to have the emotional competence to make unpleasant acts more pleasant or at the least manageable. Before addressing the issue, ask yourself what the goal is and what you really want to accomplish. This practice will help you overcome fears and help you to better focus on goal accomplishment.


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