Richard Mortimer MCMI used to pride himself on his assertiveness and communication skills. He believed communication was just “getting the message across” and had always seen it as one of his strengths. He’s technical services manager in media and communications at Staffordshire University, after all.
But following 360-degree feedback and conversations with colleagues, as well as insights from the CMI Management Diagnostics tool, he soon realised it wasn’t quite as simple as he thought.
“Two interesting, conflicting things came out from various feedback and self-assessment tools, which really surprised me,” Richard says. “Colleagues said I didn’t hold back with my opinions and I was possibly over-assertive at times. Yet within conflict management, I wasn’t assertive enough.
“I suppose I used to take a bit of a backseat around conflict until situations escalated,” he admits. “I’d only get involved if there was a significant issue, because I believed people should be able to sort things out themselves. But I subsequently discovered that people actually appreciated earlier intervention.”
Identifying your strengths and weaknesses like Richard did is an important part of any manager’s personal development. But it’s not straightforward. How can you know what you don’t know? Arming yourself with insights, whether from self-reflection, asking those around you or using an online tool, allows you to change your approach – and ultimately transform those weaknesses into superpowers.
Richard has changed the way he approaches conflict: he now addresses potentially difficult situations much earlier by initiating positive dialogue to bring about effective resolutions. “It sounds obvious now, but staging earlier interventions actually prevents a lot of conflict in the first place”.
Locate your weaknesses
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Try the CMI Management Diagnostics tool: it will score you against key management competencies and then provide you with a fully personalised learning plan, packed with resources tailored to you and your areas for improvement. You can repeat the process again and again to see how your skills are growing – and how you are becoming a better manager. If you’re not a member yet, try the mini version.Try it now
Strength ≠ skill
Many managers look at strengths and weaknesses through the lens of competency: “Can I do this? Do I possess this skill?” However, an important difference between strengths and skills is that, while skills are not necessarily things that we gain satisfaction from, strengths are things that we are both good at and enjoy doing.
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