Article

Why You Should Know Your Weaknesses

HR insights and tips with Jeff Havens

Hello, and welcome to another installment of HR Intervention! I’d like to begin this article by talking about running – or, more specifically, about how dumb it is to run anywhere.

I firmly believe that the only good reason for running anywhere is to escape danger, and I sincerely hope to die without ever being shamed into running a marathon.

However, since my working day consists of sitting at my desk and/or in plane seats for hours at a time, I do occasionally go to the gym, where I am regularly reminded of how much weaker I am than your average tank-top-wearing bodybuilder. I’ve always wanted to know at what point the laws of the gym require that you no longer wear sleeves, but I’ve never bothered asking because I know my biceps are well below that threshold.

Sometimes I amuse myself by finding the largest guy in the gym and offering to show him around and explain how some of the machines work. That generally gets a laugh, or a grimace – it’s hard to tell sometimes, they have so many muscles I don’t always know what I’m looking at.

But I don’t want to focus this entire article on my physical weakness; I want to talk about my mental weaknesses instead.

I am not the most organized person. My desk is always in the middle of a disaster, and my wife is constantly irritated by how messy my side of the closet is. I’m not great with details, and paperwork seriously annoys me. I manage to keep things in files, but it’s not always easy to find anything in those files if I ever need to find them.

Why am I spending so much time telling you about my failings? Because you probably have some of your own, and it’s good to know what they are, for several reasons:

So You Can Improve

Duh. This is the obvious one, and I’m not going to talk about it. I also don’t think it’s nearly as important as the following two.

So You Can Delegate Those Responsibilities

No one is good at everything, and you shouldn’t try to be.

Now of course that doesn’t mean I should spend zero energy working on improving my organizational skills or my attention to detail. But if I am aware that these are my weaknesses and there are people I work with who are better at these things than I am, then it’s far better to delegate as many of those responsibilities as possible than it is to figure out how to do everything myself.

After all, whatever energy I’ll spend improving my weaknesses is energy that’s not being spent playing to my strengths.

So You Can Decide If They’re Actually Weaknesses

Another weakness of mine is that I can’t bring myself to be on every social media outlet that exists.

For someone whose business is largely conducted online, it would make sense to consider expanding my online footprint – except that I don’t know any keynote speakers who do a lot of business on Snapchat or Tik Tok. That could mean it’s a wide-open space ripe for my domination, but it could also mean that diving into them would be a giant waste of time.

Maybe I’ll give a new social media platform a try, find out that it’s promising, and transition away from one of my existing channels. Or maybe I’ll decide that my current strategy is still the best one.

The point is, knowing where I could improve is a necessary first step in order to know how (or if) I should improve.

So enjoy your weaknesses! They’re actually more helpful than you think. Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a Strongman competition going on a few blocks from here, and I want to shout helpful pointers at the contestants. I’m sure they’ll appreciate my input.

Learn the art of delegating tasks to others in this free guide:

Jeff Havens is a speaker, author, and professional development expert who tackles leadership, generational, and professional development issues with an exceptional blend of content and entertainment. He is a contributing writer to Fast Company, Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal; and has been featured on CNBC and Fox Business. For more information, or to bring Jeff to your next meeting, call 309-808-0884, email info@jeffhavens.com, or visit Jeffhavens.com.

Speaker, Author and Professional Development Expert