What do you do when someone else tells you they aren’t good at something?

One of the most common interview questions is “What do you feel is your greatest weakness?”. Whenever a person identifies weakness, there is likely a false belief that the individual has been feeding for a long time. Taking these beliefs at face value prevents the individual and the team from embracing their full potential.

Do people lie about having a weakness? Not exactly. We are regurgitating a belief system adopted some while ago. A person or event suggested that we weren’t good at an area like being organized, or good at numbers, or vision, and we continue to prove this out again and again. The surprising truth is that often, right in the very thing individuals think they aren’t good at, lurks a powerful talent where they secretly thrive.

I worked with a CEO who thought himself to be too busy to be good with people and whose team found him less than empathetic. Turned out he had an extraordinary capacity to care for his people; just didn’t know how to access it. And another CEO who thought she was no good at numbers. Turned out she was remarkably skillful at pinpointing crucial financial opportunities and leading indicators in ways traditional accounting mindsets would miss.

As leaders, it’s our job to find these tucked-away talents and give them the opportunity to shine. One way to do this is by simply observing clues. Resist the urge of accepting someone is “just not good” at a certain task, and dig a little deeper. Just because they don’t do it the way the experts teach, doesn’t mean there isn’t some unexpected gift there. Assign a task that would be out of their typical “wheelhouse” to see how they perform.

Another way you can unleash hidden potential is by asking questions. Find out what precisely is their block. Understand this as a way they perceive things that differs from the norm. Innovate new approaches that might activate convention-defying genius.

Many leaders use executive coaching to help them access hidden potential in their team. You can also use a mobile system, such as the Numina app, to help your team members support each to explore these vital questions.

To see our video on this subject click: Be Your Full Potential. To get two free sessions click: Free Sessions.