Leaders want themselves, their coworkers, and their organizations to be stronger. To get stronger, they tend to take one of two approaches: removing weaknesses or building strengths. Both approaches work. But to be happy and achieve the most success, you must do both. You must remove weaknesses and build strengths.
In the U.S., we tend to focus heavily on one or the other: deficits or strengths. A child art prodigy may spend her days in the learning center to become an average speller. A standout soccer player may spend so much time playing that sport and traveling to games that he loses his passion for the game. We live in a culture of excess, and sometimes that excess can take the joy out of a strength or make a weakness feel overwhelming.
As a leader, take a balanced approach. Help your coworkers build strengths and remove weaknesses. Your goal shouldn’t be to have each coworker reach the exact same bars. Your coworkers’ bars should be set based upon their individual strengths and weaknesses. Adjust each bar upward one peg at a time.
When you take a balanced approach, in terms of building your coworkers’ strengths and removing weaknesses, you will find yourself distributing more compliments than criticism. Rather than criticizing weaknesses (or circumventing them), you will compliment the progress that’s been made in removing them.