Nobody is a master of all trades, so embrace your unique talents and those of your team members.
This article is reprinted with permission. Read the original on the Leading People First blog.
Do you ever play video games? Yeah, me neither.
I’ve never really been good at them, but when I have played them, it’s been a nice distraction. The best part is when I get to play with my brothers during the holidays. I don’t own any video game consoles, so I always rely on my brothers to bring one to our parents’ when we get together. (The last one I personally owned was an Xbox 360. I know, super long ago.)
Growing up—and now, whenever I do play a video game—my default has always been to choose the “well-rounded” (aka balanced) character. But I always end up getting frustrated because the character is a Jack of all trades, master of none, so there aren’t really any major weaknesses or strengths.
During my education and through the early part of my career, I had always thought being “well-rounded” was a good thing. You could be good at a lot of things, which sounds like a positive, but I quickly grew frustrated, just like I did playing video games.
As humans, we are unique and have different strengths and weaknesses (oops, I mean “opportunities”), both inherent and learned. The old school-of-thought that I had grown up with is dying away just like my video game characters: We can’t expect people—employees or ourselves—to be “well-rounded” or good at everything; we have to understand and highlight their individual strengths and manage the remaining areas we want to improve.
After my conversation with Kristin A. Sherry, the founder of YouMap, in episode 12 of the Leading People First podcast, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we really need to start leaning into our strengths. Based on Gallup’s research, you—yes, you—are one in 33 million. For context, within the global population, your unique set of strengths can only be found in less than a half percent (0.435%) of people in the world. This makes you incredibly unique.
My own strengths, based on the CliftonStrengths themes, are:
When I reviewed my strengths again, the work that I’ve been doing the last four to five years suddenly made sense. Working in culture, employee experience, talent development, change management and DE&I all spoke to my strengths. So why have I been trying to be something I’m not and frustrating myself in the process?
Don’t be a "balanced" video game character. Stop treating yourself like you don’t or shouldn’t have strengths and weaknesses. It’s time for us to lean into our abilities fully and make the most of our unique gifts.
Chris Lin is the host of the Leading People First podcast and chief learning architect at Indelible Impressions Consulting LLC.