Are You Over Using Your Strengths?

Are You Over Using Your Strengths?

How do you know when your strengths are becoming a weakness?


A woman of many strengths, Claire UnderwoodI’ve been watching the last series of House of Cards, intrigued as to how they would manage it without Kevin Spacey. In my opinion, it’s still okay..ish from a narrative point of view, but from a psychological point of view…oh my! I have never seen so many narcissists, psychopaths and individuals needing power to feel validation in one programme. I wonder if that’s the appeal.

Narcissism and psychopathy has been a bit of a theme recently as last week I attended the Dysfunctional Leadership conference, the premise of which is that we can all be derailed or led astray by our strengths.

Relying too much on your strengths

Think about it, if you rely too much on your charisma and charm, it can become a  weakness, leading you to concentrate on superficial relationships rather than do the work and add Value. If you don’t believe that emotions belong in the workplace, you risk being seen as unemotional and even lacking empathy.

I’m a big believed in knowing our strengths and weaknesses, or as psychologists call them “areas of development.” If you are a business owner you may be breathing a sigh of relief that you don’t have to undergo psychometric tests to get your job and yet you may be missing out on something that could seriously enhance your business, day to day working life and plans for growth.

My own strength and weakness story

Now I’m going to tell you something I would have been too ashamed to say a couple of years ago. When I first started studying Business Psychology, I had to undergo a really intense psychometric test, The Saville Wave.  We were given the results as part of a module on psychometrics and I was appalled to see that my overall result for basically getting the job done, out of a score of 10. was a one and a half! I railed at this. I always deliver don’t I? Yes, I do, and often before deadline. What utter rubbish!

However, as I talked my results through with the business psychologist in front of me, I realised that actually, I did have a habit of getting distracted by bright shiny new ideas, that I often left my own projects hanging due to competing priorities (i.e. client work). I recognised a glimmer of my own behaviour and knew that it wasn’t conducive to success. So, I decided to change. I trained myself to stay focused and get the job done, even if something more alluring came along. What had been one of my strengths – creativity – was actually doing me harm.

This is why I find psychometrics so fascinating and why an online personality test doesn’t cut it. You need to dig deep to find out what the results mean and not jump to a knee jerk reaction, as I did, or skim over them as is also so tempting.

Red Hot Exercise

What do you consider your strengths in business? Your creativity, like me? Your confidence? Your willing to give everything a go? Your attention to detail? have you ever considered they could become your weaknesses?

Here are some possible examples of strengths taken to extreme

  • Creativity becomes lack of focus as chasing too many ideas or staying in whiteboard and creation phase rather than putting it into action
  • Attention detail becomes perfectionism which means you procrastinate. It can also lead to failure to delegate which will stop you from growing
  • Doing everything means you don’t specialise in your area and are missing out on the potential to go deeper. it also means you fail to delegate, wasting your valuable time and preventing growth.

Sometimes, the issue isn’t that you overuse your strengths, but that you use this behaviour as a way to hold yourself back. You create because you’re scared of actually putting your plans into action. What if people don’t want what you have to offer?

Questions for you:

What are your strengths?
Are you using them in proportion or are you over using them?
How does this show?
What holds you back?

Since that day when I had my own test done, I’ve now qualified myself in a number of personality tools. I’ve been so enthralled by this subject that I’ve created a personality profiling day for entrepreneurs where you will not only get invaluable information on your own strengths weaknesses, communication style and patterns of behaviour but you will also gain insights into those of the people around you, invaluable for anyone who heads up or works in a team or with clients. You can read more here

Christmas Fun

Something on a smaller but more festive note is my “What’s Your Personality Breakfast” where we will be using your DISC profile (included) to talk about your communication style and work behaviours and how you can adjust that to suit clients, colleagues and potential clients. Enjoy a lovely festive breakfast and glass of prosecco too. This is a fun and informal occasion, nevertheless you will come out with a wealth of knowledge that will improve your working relationships in 2019.

You can find more details at:

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