I love this, Melody. I was introduced to strengths-focused management when I was at eBay. It was a breath of fresh air after so many years of the traditional management advice of giving people lists of “areas for improvement.”

It does make sense to leverage your strengths, since you can’t really build a successful career completely on your “weaknesses.” But, that approach didn’t really take into account that sometimes you absolutely do want to address a weakness or develop a new skill.

For example, public speaking used to be a weakness for me. I feared it considerably. I could have ignored that and just focused on my introverted strengths, but I knew that my fear of public speaking was holding me back.

So, I invested in training and forced myself to embrace it. A few years later, that weakness flipped. It became a strength and I actually love public speaking now. I never would have discovered that if I hadn't forced myself to tackle something that terrified me.

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