Discovering and Maximising your Strengths
Feature from Ms Equality - Thursday, 19 January 2012 @ 9:52am
I have chosen to start my writing with an encouragement for young women out there who want to lead but do not know where to start. January is the month of resolutions for the year and I find inspirational stuff quite encouraging as I make my resolutions. The article below is an excerpt from a booklet I contributed to on leadership.
Leadership can be rather difficult if one focuses on barriers (which can be seen as weaknesses) like age, cultural difference, gender and also personality. Whereas the earlier weaknesses cannot be changed because they are biological people tend to try and change the later. Most of us have spent all our lives trying to get better at things we are not good at when we should have been cultivating our strengths. However Singer argues that it might be in the best interests of mathematically gifted children to teach them advanced mathematics at an early age, which for different children might be entirely pointless or positively harmful.
Tom Rath in his book Strengthsfinder agrees with Singer by challenging the reader to discover their strengths (the book provides a resource for that) and maximise on them so they can be excellent in whatever they do. Therefore a good communicator would study in an area that encourages them to use that talent and choose a career like teaching where they would best use that capability. Importantly you should discover your areas of weakness so that you know to either totally avoid working in those areas or partner with people whom you know are stronger at those points of weakness. This brings out a need to also assist people around you to discover their strengths so you can complement each other. An example is an achiever might need someone with positivity to encourage them when they feel their achievements are not good enough.
Well, “What about those weaknesses you cannot change which serve as barriers like age, gender, race and religion?” asks the reader. Being different is a very hard thing to live with and sometimes makes it taboo to even think of leadership. However this is where your strengths count the most, e.g. if you are a very good public speaker and are capable of captivating your audience they can easily look past your gender, age, race and religion to grasp whatever it is you are discussing. Therefore take time to discover your strengths and train up in them and you can be anything you want to be.
Image taken from wooleydog's photostream on Flickr under creative commons licence.