I was intrigued to read this article, as I'm always on the lookout for ways to build on strengths but also to understand and mitigate weaknesses. Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing - strengths can become overwhelming if applied incorrectly or overdone. By developing complementary skills, you can work towards balancing strengths in ways that enable you and your teams to be highly effective and keep people engaged and performing.
This resonated for me in the area of decision-making. I feel that I'm good at assimilating information and making decisions quickly; I can be counted on to hear from team members or stakeholders about a question or a problem, gather information from them and others, make a decision or recommendation, and then take action.
Like most strengths, this decisiveness can be challenging sometimes. For example, if I make a decision, I'm possibly taking away the opportunity for a team member or colleague to take responsibility for a decision. This can reduce engagement and empowerment for team members, and reduce the opportunities for learning and growth that those decisions can provide. So a complementary strength for me is in the area of mentorship - looking for and providing ways for others to develop their strength and achieve successes of their own. Recognizing when a decision from me is required, and when it's better to allow others to work it out for themselves (with some helpful hints), is the desired balance.
At the same time, I think I'm good at recognizing when waiting to make a decision - either for more information, or for some other actions to happen - will enable a better decision or outcome. This is not the same as deciding not to decide, but rather making a decision to wait for specific things to happen before moving forward. This can be challenging with others who are in a hurry to move - to make something happen. I'm a big fan of doing the right thing over the quick thing, and so my complementary strengths here are patience and communication - waiting for that additional information when those around me are impatient to proceed, and being clear to myself and others about what I'm waiting for and why.
In these ways, strengths are less like tools and more like ingredients in a recipe - they need to be used in the right quantities and proportions, and mixed in the right way, to get the desired result. Too much of one, and the recipe will be overpowered or fail. Too little of another, and the result will be bland or flat. When everything is balanced, the results can be great.
Who is Robyn?
My career as a research project manager is rewarding, dynamic, challenging, and fun. I'm looking forward to sharing my knowledge and experience in communication, organization, and common sense approaches in research management and leadership, and to enabling others to learn and grow in this exciting career.