The One Thing You Need to Know: When Someone Thinks Their Weakness is a Strength

“I have an employee who seems to be disconnected between what she thinks she can do well and what she actually does well. What she lists as her strengths actually presents as one of her weaknesses. How do I manage a conversation around that?” – Helen

Team leaders have the right to determine performance. But only individuals can determine their own strengths. Click To Tweet

This is an excellent question that accidentally gets to the very heart of what it means to be a manager. Because as managers, we determine a lot of things for our employees – including where we can get the most performance out of them. But one thing we can’t determine is what strengthens our people. Only our individual team members can tell us what makes them feel strong, what makes time pass quickly for them, and what energizes them. Knowing and respecting that is the first step in this conversation.


What about you?

Have you ever thought something was a strength, when others thought it was a weakness?

Leave a comment below.


  1. Lovely One March 6, 2018 at 10:04 AM - Reply

    Really appreciate the thoughtful comment on my question! I feel like the clouds parted and the angels sang…. so much easier to manage my reaction when I separate my employee’s strengths versus her performance. She just might have a more engaged manager now.

  2. Dr. Rob Bogosian March 6, 2018 at 10:58 AM - Reply

    When a perception disconnect becomes apparent, there is only one way to “manage that conversation” – ASK why the employee thinks this way? Then, LISTEN to the answer and move forward. A leader can’t respond effectively without fully understanding how the employee formed their self-perception. The best way to find out is to ask and LISTEN.

  3. Katie March 6, 2018 at 6:50 PM - Reply

    Love your work Marcus! It nicely demonstrates how you can respect a person’s position on what they are passionate about and help their development in that space.

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