Consider this for a moment: What are your main strengths at work?

Many people aren’t sure what their strengths are. A lot more people can easily identify their weaknesses.

Here’s a hint: Think about how you feel performing different aspects of your job.

When you feel energized, like you’re operating ‘in the zone,’ and time seems to pass by quickly, you are probably using your strengths.

When you feel stressed out, like you’re working ‘against the grain,’ or dread doing some activity, you’re probably up against your weaknesses.

When I talk with people about improving their business performance, they often say they need to work on their weaknesses. Some people say they need to force themselves to do certain activities they’ve been avoiding. This may be true in some cases, BUT…

There has been a great deal of research on the subject of strengths and weaknesses in the workplace. It turns out that best way for people to improve their performance usually comes from focusing more on their strengths, rather than trying to correct weaknesses.

One of my sales coaching clients sells commercial insurance to Fortune 500 companies. She is highly intelligent, analytical, and a technical expert in her market. Unfortunately, she saw herself as mediocre salesperson.

When we began coaching, she was considering a career change. She didn’t believe she had what it took to be successful at sales. She wasn’t an extrovert or highly assertive, and she was afraid of being seen by others as ‘just another pushy salesperson.’

She wanted me to coach her to become more aggressive and to help her become more like the salespeople that she saw as successful. In short, she wanted me to help correct her ‘weaknesses.’ I told her that I could show her strategies to become more assertive and ‘salesy,’ but I didn’t think it would benefit her to try to be someone else.

Instead, I coached her to capitalize on her strengths. First, I helped her identify her strengths. She’s a risk-management expert. She’s good at understanding someone’s business, analyzing their potential risks, and designing insurance programs that provide great coverage. And as I said before, she’s a technical expert in her market segment.

We came up with some new ways to position her and her company as industry experts and for her to zero in on more prospects who value her particular expertise. We worked on her unique value proposition and how to communicate it effectively. Finally, she came to see herself as an expert consultant and solution provider, rather than as a salesperson. This one shift completely changed her attitude and gave her much more confidence.

Within a year, she grew her book of business almost 30 percent. She became much more comfortable selling, because she was doing it in a way that matched her strengths.

It’s important and empowering to recognize, acknowledge, and maximize your strengths. I suggest you take a few minutes to identify your strengths and write them down.

If you want help growing your business, consider working with a business coach who can help you identify and capitalize on your strengths. This will take you much further than trying to correct your weaknesses.