Should I focus on developing my weaknesses?

Weaknesses: They are there in each and every one of us – ready to undermine our success, drain our energy and make us feel bad about ourselves.

Often they are the inverse of our strength; we may be decisive leaders but weak collaborators, persuasive orators but poor listeners, diplomatic but accommodating.

And while this trade off is inevitable, what happens when our role requires us to step outside of our ‘flow’ and operate in a space that does not come naturally?

Perhaps, for example, we are called to be visionary leaders, but yet are required to be deeply immersed in detail – two apparently conflicting skill sets.

Or perhaps we are introvert, but our role requires us to speak to the media or network for our organisation.

So the answer is YES, we should absolutely focus on developing our weaknesses.

Our working environments are complex and the demands on us are high and multi-faceted. We can’t simply ignore our development areas; they will inevitably hold us back – or even be our downfall.


A strength-based approach:

But at Kipling Partners, we take a strength-based approach to helping our clients look at their development areas.

We believe it’s through understanding and cultivating our strengths – maximising our natural talents and investing in them with new skills and knowledge – that we can truly excel.

 “Focussing on our weaknesses will ensure competence whilst focussing on our strengths will deliver excellence”.

  “Our greatest potential for growth is in the area of our greatest strengths because you build on who you already are.”

Tom Rath, Strenghtfinder 2.0

Strengths Finder


We use the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment, developed by the Gallup organisation to inform our coaching process.

Gallup’s research has shown a strength-based approach improves confidence, direction, hope and kindness towards others. Therefore, it’s an operating model as valuable for the organisation as it is for the individual.

“People who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general”

“People that do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day at work are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs”

Tom Rath, Strenghtfinder 2.0

We find this approach provides practical strategies that support our clients in:

  • Determining career pathways
  • Increasing resilience
  • Building diverse and high performing teams
  • Harnessing strengths to overcome challenges
  • Understanding where their greatest leadership contribution lies.

Why do we like it?

Robust empirical foundations

The assessment has been developed through rational and empirical processes and repeatedly subjected to psychometric evaluation to ensure validity and reliability. It was derived from Gallup’s database of more than two million respondents from all over the world. The process for gathering that data has been used and validated by Gallup for over 30 years.

Quality and focus of output

The assessment lists respondents’ top five strengths in order. The personalised description means that each strength is assessed in context with the other four strengths. They are so interwoven that they are modified by association. There are 33 million combinations of the top five themes, which provides a very unique perspective on the individual.

Structure and approach

It provides an easy process and a language that resonates with individuals in multiple settings to help them identify and understand their natural talents.