When Your Strength Becomes a Weakness

When Your Strength Becomes a Weakness

God has endowed each of us with tremendous strengths, but your strengths can easily become weaknesses.  Your strengths are a blessing to your team.  They should be used and recognized as valuable.  However, those same strengths that are often celebrated, can cause a major problem for your teammates.

Strengths are perceived as a weakness by others when they are overdone.  We overdo our strengths when we use them too often, we use them with great intensity, we do them too long, or use them out of context (inappropriately).  People around you experience conflict when this happens.  It can be disruptive and hinder your leadership and relationships.

One of the reasons this happens is that the person who is overdoing their strengths is not aware of it.  You may think you are going to get the results you want because that strength usually is effective.  For instance, if my strength is persuasion, I can easily overdo my arguments so that people feel like they are being manipulated and disrespected.  What makes an overdone strength so lethal to relationships, is that the person is often totally unaware they are doing it.

The key to more effective relationships is to understand how others are experiencing your strengths.  If they are perceived as a weakness instead of strength, you may be overdoing your strength.  It is all about the perception of others.

So, what can you do about it and keep this from happening?

  1. Make sure you know your overdone strengths.  You should be able to identify your top three overdone strengths and explain how they are usually overdone.  This self-knowledge is critical to keeping it from happening.  Look up your Overdone Strengths Profile and review them frequently.
  2. Discern when the overdone strength kicks in. Know your own physiological signs (increased adrenaline, sweat, muscle tightening – hands in fist).  They are different for each of us, but our bodies respond to the stress we are experiencing.  Also, you can share your overdone strengths with your team and give them permission to call you on it when it happens.
  3. Consider using other strengths to achieve your purposes. Not all strengths are natural to us, but we can choose to use a strength that will help in the situation.  Perhaps instead of using your strength to persuade, you could invite others to share their ideas (HUB) and integrate their wisdom into the mix.

When we work more aware of our overdone strengths, we will be more likely to have productive relationships, accomplish more, and enjoy life together.

Bruce Terpstra

Our President, Dr. Bruce Terpstra, has 36 years of pastoral ministry experience. He is a veteran of 17 years in denominational leadership and developed more than 70 new churches in the New York metro area and has given oversight to almost 400 pastors. He holds a doctorate in Leadership Development and is also the founder of 3KeyCoaching and the author of Three Passions of the Soul.