What’s on the flip side?

Grayscale photo of a wooden chess pawn with two shadowsWhat’s on the flip side of your skills?

What’s on the flip side of your success?

What’s on the flip side of your failures or problems?

Similarly, what’s on the flip side of your employees’ skills, successes, failures, and problems?

There are two sides to everything. A failure at one thing is a success at something else. 

And vice versa. You can be immensely successful in business, and – as all too many divorced, lonely businesspeople can bear witness – terrible in your family life. Or a caring, empathetic, supportive manager and friend – but impatient, unkind, and critical to yourself.

Your detail-oriented team member is great at – let’s say – quality control or creating financial reports. But they can’t lead a meeting without putting everyone to sleep with their focus on minutiae.

Every light casts a shadow, and no shadow exists without light.

What frustrates you about the individuals on your team? And what’s the flip side of that frustration?

What strengths are you overlooking because they’re showing up as weaknesses? What weaknesses are driving you crazy – but could be strengths in disguise?

It’s often a matter of degree: a strength taken to extremes becomes a problem, as when the decisive individual charges off a metaphorical cliff, or a compassionate friend burns out. That decision-maker gets labelled impulsive, and the burned-out friend becomes suddenly unreliable at best, or chronically ill at worst.

Everything has a flip side (strengths and weaknesses both), and it's worth taking the time to find out what's there.Click To Tweet

And don’t forget to look at yourself, too, as I suggested in the beginning of this article. What have you been beating yourself up about that, if you look at it differently, use it differently, take a different approach, might be a positive instead of a negative? And similarly, what skills have you been over-using – wielding as a blunt instrument instead of a finely-tuned tool?

Everything has a flip side, and it’s worth taking the time to find out what’s there.


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gljudson Career development, Difficult people