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Do you know what you're good at?

Do you ever get asked what you’re good at, what your top skills are? And are you ever stuck for a response? If so, you’re not alone.

When we work with leaders and managers on developing their skills, we often start by looking at what they’re good at, but it's not unusual for them to struggle to articulate this. Why? It could be modesty - we’re often taught as children that bragging is an undesirable trait, but I think that many people don’t really know what they’re good at. It can be tough to define.

Why should you find out? Because self-awareness is critical to effective leadership – knowing when to march forward and when to step back and let someone else take the lead is something that every leader or manager should know how to do. If you’re not yet a leader, then it’s really important to know what positive impact you bring to a team or an organisation, and to be able to articulate that too.

If you struggle to define your strengths, here are a few tips to get you started.

  • What do people come to you for? This gives you an indication of where others see your strengths, what are they asking you to do? What are the patterns that you notice?

  • When do you feel at your best at work? There are some days when we feel like we’re on fire at work – we’re in control, we’re getting good stuff done well – what is this “stuff” and what are you doing well?

  • What do you enjoy most at work? If you could pick from a list of things that you typically need to do in your role, what would you choose? We tend to enjoy the things that we’re good at, so if you love a particular aspect of your role, it’s often an indicator that you’re good at it.

  • Get some feedback. What do other people tell you you’re good at? If you’re not sure, try asking. (You may want to check out our help sheet & podcast on feedback if you need some guidance). But be brave, be specific, and ask people where they see your strengths lie.

Avoid the temptation to just focus on your weak points. It’s tempting to zoom in on the things we’re not so good at, but there’s a school of thought that says focusing on our weaknesses will likely lead to us being mediocre, focusing on strengths and developing those further will help you to be truly exceptional.


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