Why You Should Play on Your Strengths–Not Focus on Your Weaknesses

Most of us can name all the things we don’t like about ourselves.

And we’ve probably also gotten feedback on “areas for improvement” (which usually feels a lot like outright criticism).

The result?

We work on overcoming our weaknesses instead of playing to our strengths.

What would happen if we reversed that pattern?

And acknowledged our strength by asking ourselves the following:

What are you a natural at? What comes easily to you that others struggle with? Find and leverage that ability.

What does reflection tell you? Spend time in reflection, then make a list of the five things you consistently get great feedback on.

What makes you feel good? Unlike working on what we need to improve, which drains our energy, working from strength makes us happy. Think about the things you do that make you happy.

What should you focus on? You can reach your highest potential by focusing on what you do best. Don’t spend all your time working on what you are not; build on what you already are.

Why play to your strengths? Our strengths are gifts that were meant to be used—and when they are, you will find your greatest happiness. When you can play to your strength you can be more focused and more engaged. You’ll feel good because you’re growing and developing, and you’ll find higher levels of innovation and creativity.

So lets try instead of focusing too much on our weakness, instead lets learn to maximize our strength and forge forward with great confidence.

Great leaders know they can accomplish more by concentrating on their strengths—rather than always correcting their weakness.

Lead From Within: If you want to improve your life, if you want to improve your leadership, you must learn what your strengths are and align yourself with them. When we play to our best self, the result is a positive and productive leadership.





N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Dawood Chishti

    07. Oct, 2014

    Learn to maximise your strength and build on who you already are. Lolly, it the key to connect the core of your abilities and use them at the best of your capabilities. Once again you have shared a rarkable post. Thank You.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Bill Benoist

    07. Oct, 2014

    For the past 10 years, new hires in my department take the Strength Finders assessment and their results are listed on a department spreadsheet. Everyone gets a copy of the spreadsheet.

    Visualize 30 rolls of columns listing everyone’s strengths. It’s truly a beautiful thing.

    We capitalize on the strengths of others for our projects, and our department maintains a very high level employee engagement because of this.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Terri Klass

    07. Oct, 2014

    Wonderful post Lolly, and one that leaders can learn so much from!

    I love: “Our strengths are gifts that were meant to be used—and when they are, you will find your greatest happiness.”

    Leaders need to not only identify their teammate’s gifts but also help them use them effectively. That becomes a win-win for everyone.

    Thanks Lolly for another inspirational post!

    Reply to this comment
  4. sunil jogdeo

    07. Oct, 2014

    Yes, thinking of our strengths build positive energy and of weaknesses consumes our energy and make us feel weaker. I read a book I believe the title is `now build your strengths` where author has categorically advised readers not to think on weaknesses but just to focus on strengths. Lolly has reminded me of the book through this article. Thank you for this short and sweet write up.

    Reply to this comment
  5. LaRae Quy

    07. Oct, 2014

    Wise words, Lolly!

    Too many leaders are asked to identify their weaknesses and then spend untold amounts of time trying to turn them into strengths.

    Mental toughness is being tough enough to acknowledge your weaknesses so you can manage them…not waste time trying to build them up.

    Often, it’s just a matter of ego not being willing to admit we’re not perfect at everything….

    Thanks, Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
  6. Panteli Tritchew

    07. Oct, 2014

    “We work on overcoming our weaknesses instead of playing to our strengths.”
    I’ve worked in several large corporations and a few post-secondary institutions across three different provinces in Canada, including multinationals, for-profits, non-profits, utilities, crown corporations and NGOs. All of them have highly structured Performance Evaluation processes, including some variation on Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs)and Performance Development Planning (PDPs).

    What do all of these performance appraisal processes have in common? They focus on the work performance that needs to be improved; i.e., on employee weaknesses.

    Thirty years later, the penny just dropped. I love it when you do that! Thanks, Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
  7. Gediminas

    07. Oct, 2014

    If you have a powerful engine and still improving it insted of fixing brakes or stering wheel, you will have problems.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Lori Polachek

    08. Oct, 2014

    So true! Wouldn’t it be great if schools focused more on helping students identify, appreciate and nurture their strengths ( innate talents and passions), than they do on pointing out or correcting weaknesses. Seems like that would be a more inspiring way to prepare them for a fulfilling, authentic and successful life.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Cecelia

    09. Oct, 2014

    It’s going to be finish of mine day, except before end I am
    reading this wonderful article to improve my know-how.

    Reply to this comment
  10. electric shaving

    09. Oct, 2014

    Just desire to say your article is ass astounding.
    The clearness in your post is just excellent and i could assume you are an expert on thhis subject.
    Well with your permission let me to grab your feed tto keep updated with forthcoming post.
    Thanks a millikon and ppease continue the gratifying work.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Charles

    10. Oct, 2014

    Nice summary Lolly, but even better if you give recognition to Marcus Buckingham who really put this on the map, so to speak.

    Reply to this comment
  12. John Paul

    10. Oct, 2014

    Great article, Lolly. I have forever beaten myself up about my weakness when it comes to emotional intelligence.

    And still, our corporate environments seem driven in performance reviews to always talk to weaknesses and not strengths. Sometimes it is an excuse for hidden agendas and the corporate control games “leaders” play.

    On the other side, my weakness in an area may drive somebody else insane. I am beginning to see their insanity as not my problem! 🙂

    Reply to this comment
  13. Karim Tizeghban

    12. Nov, 2014

    That’s correct but here in Algeria. the ministry of education in Algeria teach us all the materials and some times they choose our orientations also there is the influence the parents whom sometimes like their kids to be doctors for example.

    Reply to this comment
  14. David Pethick

    03. Dec, 2014

    This is a great post Lolly. Performance reviews which focus on “opportunities for improvement” are very much a management control. Clearly the best path for any moderately successful individual to take is to continue to build upon their own strengths.

    I recently wrote a LinkedIn blog post about exactly this topic (http://linkd.in/12jhRI6).

    David Pethick
    Co-Founder, http://leading.io

    Reply to this comment


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