Some qualities that make you employable require no quantifiable talent or skill. It’s great news that you don’t need a degree or certificate to become more attractive to an employer. Nobody is perfect, and everybody has parts of themselves that could be strengthened.
In many job interviews, you’re asked “tell me about your weaknesses”. In this instance, it’s probably best to focus on those areas that aren’t inherent to the job you’re after. Instead, you should choose areas that you can actively improve.
To be able to look inward and address your weaker areas sets you up for growth both in your career and organisation. On top of this, it’s also an admirable quality that employers want in their teams.
How to identify your weaknesses.
In many professional scenarios, you’ll be asked to talk about your weaknesses or areas you’d like to improve. Whether this is in an interview, your performance appraisal, or on a learning and development course you’ll need to be able to be reflective and communicate your goals.
Here are some ways to identify your areas for improvement.
Feedback from trusted and respected colleagues will help you discover where you could improve.
Check-in with yourself.
Write down any regular or recurring challenges you come up against in the workplace. One off mistakes are bound to happen, but repeated behaviours are an indication that this is an area of professional development.
Common areas of improvement may be….
Many people share improvement goals. Recognising the areas you need to address will encourage you to seek out opportunities to improve.
To see if these recurring themes relate to you, score yourself out of 10 on each.
Your levels of confidence can impact your performance and keep you from advancing in your career. How confident are you in your role and workplace?
Colleagues who actively listen to each other have the power to improve organisational performance. Better collaboration is driven by being able to listen and accept the views of others. Active listening involves paying attention when others are sharing ideas. Follow up by asking questions to ensure you really understand what you’ve been told.
The clear communication of information in emails and reports is critical for efficient team working. If your colleagues regularly miss the point of your correspondence, perhaps the problem lies with your style. Look back over your written work and relook at it from the reader’s point of view. Would you understand if you hadn’t written it?
Giving presentations, delivering training, and meeting with clients are all part and parcel of working life. If you struggle with public speaking, you could seek out workshops to help you practice this commercial skill.
Struggle with public speaking? Read our recent blog, How can I improve my presentation skills? for more advice.
Both delivering in your job, and career progression are all about setting goals. Improve this skill by setting yourself small to-do lists and progress to bigger-picture thinking.
Nobody likes to feel criticised, but receiving feedback is a necessary part of work life. Professionals can accept feedback and should always strive to improve. Practice letting down your defences by asking trusted colleagues and friends to give you honest but constructive feedback.
Experience and knowledge.
Feeling out of your depth at work is overwhelming and could affect professional confidence. Luckily, it’s easy to remedy. Pursuing professional development is something you can undertake both at work and in your own time.
Becoming a strong leader takes practice. Ask for feedback from colleagues about what they look for in a good leader. Do you have these qualities?
Assigning tasks to colleagues takes trust, people assessment, and critical thinking. To practice, take a hypothetical scenario. Look at the strengths of your colleagues and divide out the tasks accordingly.
Teamworking is essential in helping your organisation meet its goals. The teamworking skills required in a remote working world are very different from that pre-pandemic. Take time to assess how effective you are working in a remote or hybrid team. This includes technology, setting boundaries, and your expectations.
Decision-making and prioritising.
Being able to create a priority list and come to decisions independently is essential for effective workflow management. Separate your to-do list into ‘urgent’, ‘important’ and ‘could wait’ categories. Reflect on how this helped you become more efficient at the end of your day.
These are just a few thoughts on how you can improve some of the most common weaknesses people identify in their working lives. We hope it’s helped you prepare for your interview or made you think a bit about the areas you could work. We all have areas where we could hope to improve and lead us to be better colleagues and employees.
For more hints and tips on interview preparation plus loads more, you’ll be sure to find all you need on the Employee Advice pages of our blog.