Can Your Strength Become a Weakness?

Aug 9, 2011
3 Min Read

Can you be too good at something? Can your strength become your weakness? Yes. There is such a thing as overusing your skills. The problem is not so much that you are excellent in one particular area. The problem is that other competencies are neglected when you begin to over rely on your strengths at the expense of other skills.

Here are a few competencies and what they may look like when they are taken too far:

  • If you are highly creative, you might lack follow-through.
  • Excellent problem solving skills can seem over-analytical.
  • When you always keep your composure, you seem cold or inauthentic.
  • If you are too action-oriented, you may be a workaholic or seem impersonal.
  • A good sense of humor can be misinterpreted as sarcasm or immaturity.
  • Someone very organized might be inflexible and have trouble dealing with ambiguity.
  • If you are too approachable, people may perceive you as easily influenced.
  • When you are too compassionate, you may avoid productive task-oriented conflict.
  • When you deeply care about your team, you may have trouble being objective and firm.
  • When you work well with upper management, you may be seen as overly political.
  • If you are very decisive, perhaps you jump to conclusions before fully considering all scenarios.
  • If you hold strong ethics and values, you might be sensitive and overcritical of others’ beliefs.
  • Someone with expert knowledge may have underdeveloped interpersonal and managerial skills.
  • A broad perspective may make you idealistic and less able to set realistic priorities.
  • If you are highly innovative, you may become impatient with established products and procedures.
  • A fair and just leader may turn a blind eye to individual differences and treat people w/ inappropriate uniformity.

Note that these are all positive qualities in professionals, managers, and leaders. In all likelihood, there is absolutely no problem with them, unless you are in the top 95th percentile compared to others in your organization or profession. In that case, your strength may turn out to be your weakness.

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