If you are a working professional, you likely have a natural skill or ability that has helped you succeed in your chosen career. Are you known for your keen problem solving abilities and analytical chops? Do you excel at communication and making complex concepts easy to understand? No matter what you hang your hat on, even those who are the best at what they do must learn to embrace both the areas where they shine and the areas where they can improve.
By recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, you can improve your chances of success in your field and provide even more value to your organization. Follow these steps to identifying your strengths and weaknesses.
1. Take a good look at yourself in the mirror
Self-awareness can make or break your professional development. Few people enjoy being criticized or focusing on their flaws, but it is important to take an objective look at yourself to identify both strengths and weaknesses. If you blindly go about your work, ignoring the parts of it that you don’t enjoy or do not excel at, you could wind up costing yourself in the long run when it comes to opportunities to work on new projects or advance to a new role.
Taking an attitude of “just get it done” could also lead you in the wrong direction. More than likely, most of your job responsibilities are not optional, so getting to know yourself can help you know where you need to focus on improvement and where you can focus for greater results.
2. Assess your strengths and weaknesses
You can’t simply examine yourself in the mirror and see your strengths and weaknesses. It requires effort and introspection. To gain better insights, you can also look to people who know you well, as well as tried and trusted tests and tools.
Ask your spouse or partner, supervisor and colleagues to give you candid, constructive feedback on where they see you doing well and struggling most. If there is a part of your work they see you enjoying over others, that’s a good sign it is a strength. The areas you tend to procrastinate are probably the opposite.
Personality tests like Insights Discovery or Myers-Briggs can give you further objective insights into what makes you tick.
3. Improve your skills, outsource or delegate to overcome challenges
For every weakness, you have an opportunity to take a constructive approach. Some minor weaknesses that are also essential business skills may have to be learned or practiced. Business networking, for example, is critical in many fields, but doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Practice and effort can help you thrive.
Don’t neglect your professional development. Seek out learning opportunities that will allow you to continue to grow your strengths and build confidence in areas where you are not as strong. After identifying your strengths and weaknesses, find a conference or workshop that’s applicable to your position and interests.
Additionally, if your weakness lands in an administrative part of your job, depending on your role within your organization, you may be able to explore hiring additional resources or investing in tools to handle those areas of the business for you. That allows you to focus on the parts of your work you need to pay attention to most.
4. Never stop working to better yourself
As an individual, you may not think of yourself as a brand or small business. But when it comes to professional development, it helps to think of yourself in this way. Like any other business owner, you should always be looking at what you are doing well and where you can improve. Take a step back and look at your career and your skills with your eyes wide open.
Your strengths and weaknesses – and how you manage them – can set you apart and help form lasting impressions on employers, colleagues, clients and anyone within your professional network. As a working professional, you always have a chance to learn something new. And remember, if you are constantly challenging yourself to improve, you better your chances at having a long and successful career.
Want for more insights on succeeding at work? Read about how emotional intelligence can help you gain a competitive advantage in your field.