Updated: 4 days ago
We have all been asked the dreaded interview question–
What’s your greatest weakness?”
Most people respond with ‘I am too much of a perfectionist or ‘I write long emails’ or ‘I don’t like to make small talk with coworkers.
But, if you took physics in High School, you will remember.
Newton's third law is: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Shall we start with my weaknesses (if you need proof, you can ask Amy, Ben, or my husband Mitch - Oh yes, and a few old bosses)
I am the energizer bunny after he has had a Red Bull, even before my first cup of coffee.
My energy level turns into enthusiasm and passion for the mission. Often, my energy and excitement for new projects serve to inspire others. You can make my day if you bring me an Almond Milk Latte.
Patience is not my virtue, which is a negative for some. Or maybe it’s a positive???
I will always strive to complete my work and then look for more ways to help the organization.
I am sure you see where I am going right now.
Let me give you a real example. I had a young woman work for me years ago. Let’s call her Mary. She was incredibly successful, worked hard, and NEVER gave up. She would bring in new business every week, and due to that hard work, she was a star.
Mary was indeed my wake-up call every day. She was also so super focused on success that she would sometimes steamroll a colleague or, more often, support staff to get what she wanted. There were days I, her manager, tried to hide under the desk to avoid her early morning barrage, but our support staff didn’t have that option. On the other hand, she would plant herself in front of my office at 6:30 am (I came in at 7 am in the years before I had kids) and would want to go over her entire day before my first cup of coffee.
I was wrong—or at least partially wrong. I DID have to coach Mary on how she talked to support staff. Everyone is essential to the process, and she could not bully people. You do get more bees with honey!
On the other hand, she made me look good and gave 100% to her job - her tenacity and persistence needed to be celebrated. She needed to have my appreciation even at 6:30 am.
It was a challenge to slow her down to compliment her. But, as I learned ways to say thank you in ways she appreciated, I was able to manage better. She became friendlier to the support staff and continued being the superstar she wanted to be.
Footnote—Mary went on to have a family of her own, and neither of us came in that early anymore.
What is your “weakness,” and how can it be a positive asset to an organization?
According to Indeed.com, here are the top weaknesses identified during interviews.
I have trouble saying “no.”- I am a team player and don’t always know how to say no. As my manager, I would look to you to help me define my role within the organization so I can excel in my new position.
I am a perfectionist.-I strive to check every detail of my work so it represents the organization in its best light.
I don’t like small talk with coworkers-Building relationships is crucial to me, but I focus on the work at hand and on collaborating with the team.
I get impatient when projects run beyond the deadline- I have an excellent appreciation for projects running on schedule. It works best for me to set a timeline so that the project stays on schedule throughout the process.
I have been uncomfortable working with ambiguity. I truly thrive when I have details of a project and its goals. This helps me work effectively for the organization.
What is your weakness?
Is it truly a weakness or a roadmap on how you can best work within the organization.
Being self-aware and sharing your weakness is an opportunity for a potential manager to understand how to best work with you genuinely. It is also an opportunity for them to know how to manage you to feel like you belong, are understood, and feel celebrated!
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