Over the years, I’ve read many books on gifts and strengths that have opened my eyes and enlightened me about my own strengths. The book that started me on this strength journey was Now, Discover Your Strengths, by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton. Since then, I have been on a quest to name, articulate, grow, and fine tune my own strengths. It’s been a fun journey. It’s even more fun to do the same with people on my ministry teams. These books have helped me tremendously in leadership.
The problem with going on the strength quest is that, along the way, I not only discover my strengths, I also discover my weaknesses. And the sad conclusion that I have come to realize is that I have way more weaknesses than I have strengths. God has a funny sense of humor.
If you are like me, it’s easy to get caught up in what I’m not any good at. I once heard someone say that we should spend 80% of our time in our areas of strength, 15% of our time in areas in which we don’t know whether it is a strength or a weakness, and 5% of our time in our weak areas. A take off on the Pareto Principle, and easier said then done. What I do know is that I cannot always avoid my weak areas. Since that is the case, I better learn to mange them!
“Managing our weaknesses allows our strengths to overpower them, ultimately making them irrelevant.” -Soar With Your Strengths, pg. 99
These strategies, which I like a lot, were taken from Soar with Your Strengths, a precursor to Now, Discover Your Strengths. I’ve used them to a good degree of success.
- Sloughing: Find out what you don’t do well and stop doing it. There have been times I have stopped doing things and no one noticed. That means it was not an important task in the first place.
- Subcontracting: Assign the task or weakness to a person or organization that possesses strengths in that area. If they can do it better than I can, they can have it.
- Complimentary Partnering: Sometimes the combination of my strengths with another person’s strength allows us to achieve a goal better than I could on my own, especially if I feel weak in that task. Teamwork is the word.
- Alternatives: If I have to perform in my areas of weakness, which does happen from time to time, I better find alternative and creative ways to accomplish the task. That means I need to think outside of the box.
These strategies have helped me in my leadership roles in ministry. I hope they can help you stay more focused on your strengths, so that your ministry can move to a higher level of effectiveness and success.
What are some strategies that you have used to manage your weaknesses?