A little nervous but trying to look comfortable, you’re sitting down for your annual performance review. You expect a great evaluation, as all signals indicate that’s the case, but you never know until you hear it from your manager, right? John – she says – the sales figures are through the roof. You are doing an excellent job at bringing in new clients – well done! However, your time management skills need improving. Let’s focus on that in the next six months.
Performance reviews routinely focus on improving your weaknesses to become a better employee.* It makes sense, right?
I’d like to argue that it doesn’t.
Only Superman is great at everything
We are constantly pushing ourselves to be great at everything while, in fact, that is not a realistic goal to have. No one is perfect.
You can’t be good at everything, but you can be great at one or a few things. So instead of focusing your time and efforts on bringing all of your skills to an ok level, why not sharpen a select few and become the best you can in those areas? They are the ones that will make you stand out from the crowd.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
1. What has the highest impact?
Time and energy are limited, make sure you use them for what is likely to have the best return on your investment: your strengths.
2. What makes you a keeper?
Instead of focusing on what you’re terrible at, find out what makes you truly brilliant. Those few but very valuable skills are what make you a keeper, and how you can move the needle for your organisation and your career.
3. What do you gravitate towards?
The things you have a natural inclination towards are also the ones you’re likely to be brilliant at. Honing in on those skills means you can do what you like, and do it really well.
What’s the next step?
My advice to you is to figure out what makes you a star and stick with it. Invest your time, your money and your energy in becoming the best you can at that skill. This is what will make you irreplaceable, not your working knowledge of the Microsoft Office Suite.
Not sure what your strengths are?
A great test to help you find out is MBTI, but an even better one, in my opinion, is the Clifton Strengths Finder. This test will reveal your top strengths, the ones that truly define you, so you know what you’re naturally drawn towards. Use this knowledge to build your career.
For me, it was a revealing experience. I intuitively knew what I was good at – made of – but when the results came in it was like the fog had lifted. I knew that was me, and I knew how I could apply them in my life and my job.
Remember, it’s better to be great at a few things than mediocre at everything.
What’s your biggest strength? Would love to read your comment below.
*Sure, you might say – not all performance reviews are like that – and you may be right. But you get my point.