Can your strengths become your flaws?

 After 20 years of facilitating personal and leadership development, I think that I have a good understanding of what my strengths are and put them to use as much as possible. However, a series of unfortunate events over the past few months have made me realise that my strengths are also a source of my weaknesses.

When  I examined some of my character strengths which have been identified through an online assessment, I find that they often also get me into hot water or can lead to negative consequences. For example:

– Leadership: My knack for engaging, collaborating, organising and making things happen….often means that I end up taking on too many projects which sometimes leave me feeling overwhelmed, time constrained and rushed

Curiosity:  I love finding out about new things, exploring and am fascinating by things that I don’t know….and hence get easily side tracked when I see something that looks interesting and will leave what I’m doing to go and discover….this often means that I have to work late at night to catch up

Critical thinking and open-mindedness: I like to think things through, look at them from different perspectives, gather evidence, reflect ….this often means that my  decision-making process is slower. If I make a quick decision or judgement I may have to change it later because I had time to reflect and think

Love of learning:  This coupled with curiosity means that I am often engrossed in learning something new when I should be concentrating on the job in hand…and again this often leads to late nights!

– Perspective and wisdom: Whilst I don’t think of myself as being wise, people often ask me for advice and help. As am usually humbled by this, I rarely turn them away …which eats into my time.  I am enthused when other people want to learn and develop and love to share my work which again can be time-consuming.

I have taken action to mitigate some of these and question why I chose to do some of the things that I do.  The purpose of this blog is not to be inwardly focused or ‘navel gazing’ but to elicit some dialogue amongst readers, sharing of experiences and learning. Have you had similar experiences?

How do you ensure that you do not lean too heavily on your strengths?

Does one need to develop additional skills to balance one’s strengths?

 How do you keep your strengths honed and sharp?

How do you nurture your strengths?

Would love to hear your experiences and strategies for dealing with some of the above questions

Follow me on Twitter @verawoodhead and join me for Coaches Connect

Image: Spider’s web from


About verawoodhead

I'm an executive coach, leadership facilitator and learning & development consultant working with managers and leaders to develop the skills and behaviours to inspire performance and drive results; achieve promotion ; make successful career changes, be resilient and thrive at work. Within organisations, I help to facilitate better conversations, design learning interventions which deliver practical and lasting solutions aligned to business strategy and goals. Connect with me on Twitter @verawoodhead
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5 Responses to Can your strengths become your flaws?

  1. Jamie says:

    Excellent post, Vera! I share some of the same flaws you’ve described, hence I’m sitting at my computer still working past 9:00 pm., though I did take time off for a boat ride today! I guess what I often come back to are Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements. Remembering the agreement: Always do your best, helps me to not overdo my best. It’s not the doing that gets me off balance but the overdoing.

    • verawoodhead says:

      Thank you Jamie. I am glad that it’s not just me! I haven’t read Miguel’s book and will add it to my booklist. I need to reclaim my time so that I can do more reading. I love the ‘ Always do your best, helps me to not overdo my best’ – shall use that:)

  2. Its an interesting one Vera, something I learned some years ago was not to think of my weaknesses as weaknesses but simply strengths that are out of balance so by default the opposite becomes true and an over focus on certain key strengths will create flaws. Achieving balance in anything we do can be challenging – being aware of it is the best starting point.

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