Why should a person improve his talents

Strengthening strengths: full speed ahead

Talents are significant skills that we have not acquired through learning or training, but have from birth. That's the definition. Just natural strengths. Unfortunately, they also face our weaknesses. So how do we deal with this? A classic recommendation is: Strengthen the strengths to weaken the weaknesses. But that presupposes two things: If you want to strengthen your strengths, you first have to know them. At the same time, this strategy requires acceptance and tolerance of personal deficits. Weaknesses don't just go away by reinforcing some good side. But at this point there is already a problem in many companies ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Strengthen strengths to weaken weaknesses?

We are born with weaknesses. The imperfection flaw is one from childhood Challenge to our self-confidence. We constantly compare ourselves, pay attention to what we can do worse or not at all, what we fail and are frustrated.

Even at school we learn who is his Deficits does not eradicate, at least remains seated if it does not fail later at all. In any case, however, he will be banished from the circle of the successful. That's the way they are Rules of the gamethat are drummed into us at school and accompany us later at work.

Accordingly, we start ours early on Detecting, analyzing and correcting deficits.

Years ago, the Gallup Institute surveyed around 1.7 million employees in over 100 companies and 39 countries (including 80,000 managers) and wanted to know what supposedly helps them most to improve: the Knowledge of their strengths or those of their weaknesses?

You have guessed it for a long time: the majority focused solely on his weaknesses. Even in the USA - in this anyone-can-go-from-rags-to-riches-to-millionaire-if-they-just-want-culture - 59 percent of the respondents still answered that way. Fatal!

The result is that these people expend tremendous energies to catch up on something they can't anywayWhat makes them powerless, they tinker with their deficits and in the end only try to limit the damage.

We all spend a lot of time and effort with them Imperfections in life:

  • The Disease research is hundreds of years older than happiness research.
  • Social scientists know umpteen Reasons for divorcebut few secrets of happy marriages.
  • Quality management mostly means minimizing errors, but less often promoting innovations.

This collectivizes itself Misbelief, such theses manifest themselves as ...

A team is only as strong as its weakest member.


Unfortunately, the proposal exceeds your pay grade.

In the Gallup study, for example, employees and managers were also asked whether they do theirs in their daily work to fully exploit true strengths could.

Result: The talents were used in only 20 percent, 80 percent persisted mediocre. What a waste!

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Strengthening strengths: a challenge for bosses

So why not turn the tables, the good facilities and Strengthen strengths and afford his weaknesses?

After all, there is hardly any natural talent that cannot be developed - for example through targeted ones further education or by looking for projects in which you can talk about yourself (and your Comfort zone) can grow beyond it.

Incidentally, this was also examined: The probability that someone will get up because they are consciously promoting a strength is 50 percent higheras if he were just fixing his weaknesses. Nobody has to be equally good at everything, but everyone is good for something. Even more: constant further development, especially in our talented areas, not only ensures increasing top performance in this area - through the constant sense of achievement, we also improve overall.

But there is also one in that Challenge for managers and a weakness of some organizations: the concept of promoting strengths does not fall on fertile ground everywhere.

Ultimately, the strengths / weaknesses analysis also affects the management elite themselves. They don't just have to recognizehaving their own weaknesses, but also admitthat some employees have greater strengths in certain areas. For some Boss ego this is an insurmountable hurdle.

And it changes the scope for possible Leadership styles - away from a controlling-directing leadership style and towards a coordinating, motivating and participatory leadership style:

Interview: What is a strength culture?

The result could be something completely new - a Strength culture. We have the Stuttgart executive and strength trainer for this Frank Rebmann asked:

Mr Rebmann, you are campaigning for a culture of strengths in companies. What does it look like?

Unfortunately, it is still a habit in many companies to identify the weaknesses of the employees and to try to remedy them. But that only leads to frustration and disappointment on both sides. If executives focus on eliminating weaknesses, progress is extremely slow and the result is at best average. If, on the other hand, employees are deployed and developed according to their strengths, they can develop their full potential. This is what a strengths culture is all about.

Is that a plea to ignore existing weaknesses?

No. A strengths-based corporate culture in no way ignores the weaknesses of the employees - exactly the opposite is the case.

You have to explain that ...

By recognizing that we naturally achieve great results in some things, we are already implying that we fail in other things. Recognizing - and most importantly, recognizing - our strengths and weaknesses is critical to building a strengths-based culture.

In teams, this can be quickly recognized by whether the team members are willing to accept that other people think differently and that this is not interpreted as a weakness. Only when an action-oriented and quick-acting employee accepts that a conscientious and detail-loving employee values ​​other things than himself, there is a chance to consider who is best suited for which tasks.

But that also requires a lot of mutual trust.

That's right. Trust is a crucial component of strengths-based companies. Employees who trust each other are much more willing to recognize the strengths of others. The reverse is also true: the sooner you recognize and acknowledge the strengths of your colleagues, the sooner they will trust each other. A culture of strengths helps employees to accept themselves for who they are and at the same time supports them in developing their talents and in further development.

And how can you - as a manager - establish such a culture of strengths?

First of all, you have to win the team over to this idea. People support a culture that they can help shape. So there is no point in confronting the team with a fait accompli. Ideally, you introduce your employees to the topic in a workshop, a meeting or in one-on-one discussions.

In the second step, you should give each team member the opportunity to identify their individual strengths. This can be a good online self-assessment test, 360-degree feedback or a strengths workshop. Then exchange ideas with the team members about their strengths. This results in a real change of perspective. The usual view of the weaknesses and what is wrong with the other changes to a view of the strengths and what the other is particularly good at.

The third step is to compensate for the existing weaknesses in the team with appropriate strengths. So deploy your employees in a strength-oriented manner and communicate it that way. This not only increases employee engagement, but also doubles, sometimes even triples, their financial results.

Don't such now-everything-get-better approaches fizzle out regularly after a few weeks?

Granted, that happens a lot. It is all the more important that it doesn't just stop at this prelude. Managers in particular have to regularly exemplify the strengths approach, give employees regular feedback on it, and not only praise special performance, but also which strengths the colleague has used. According to the motto: Thanks to your particular perseverance, you managed to win the order from our customer.

In addition, of course, it helps if you incorporate the strengths approach into regular routines. For example, by focusing primarily on the employee's strengths in employee appraisals. Or by making sure team members give each other support and get it as well. Or by making employees feel that they have the necessary strengths to achieve the goals.

Mr Rebmann, thank you for the interview.

Criticism of the concept, especially to strengthen the strengths

As nice as the idea of ​​strengthening strengths in order to weaken weaknesses is - it is not without controversy. The Osnabrück business psychologist Uwe Kanning for example, the "humanistic considerations" fall short:

  • He argues, for example, that the special abilities and strengths cannot necessarily be used meaningfully in every workplace or are asked. His criticism: “What do you do with the many people who have a job that doesn't really fit their strengths? Does the big back of the chair come in here? "
  • In addition, it is with small business It is increasingly unlikely that employees - for example through new placements - will each time find a job that alone corresponds to their strengths. And what use is a strength if the colleague at the desk across from you is even stronger at it?
  • Moreover, they made it difficult today complex requirement profilesthat employees can successfully cope with their tasks through a single skill. The more skills are required, "the less likely it is that there are many people who are naturally up to all of these tasks."

As a result, certain weaknesses cannot (and certainly not all) Compensate with strengths.

Nonetheless, even the critics admit, the core idea is correct: to deploy the best qualified in the right positions - and to work on both: the strengths to strengthen them and the weaknesses to minimize them. This is the only way to end up true excellence.

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