Don't fear your weaknesses - embrace them!
By Lisa Ward, Head of Belbin GetSet
Over the past year, I have been visiting several schools on behalf of Belbin GetSet, to assist on enterprise days and run soft-skills workshops. Often, the students I see are classed as under-achieving. As a tool for identifying and projecting strengths, Belbin GetSet is ideally suited for these groups of young adults. Many of the individuals I work with, suffer from low self-esteem and will readily tell you they are not very good at anything! So, in terms of raising aspirations and confidence, Belbin GetSet really does help, and it is a wonderful thing to see.
Recently, I was asked to present on Belbin GetSet with the theme of 'Leadership' at Wells Cathedral School in Somerset, at a Head of Schools Conference for independent schools in the South West.
Entering their final year of further education and, having just been nominated as head boys and girls, this group of 41 students were already assertive, confident and academically on-track. Expectations were high for them all to go on to achieve great things. So, a totally different audience.
We started by addressing how being a great team player can make you an even better leader. We discussed and ran exercises on how self-awareness can be key in being a successful and respected leader.
We looked at their Belbin GetSet profiles, discussing the nine Belbin Team Roles, highlighting how important it is not to box ourselves into one or two roles (we are way too interesting and too unique for that!) but to learn from our preferred behaviours and especially our 360-degree feedback from others – do our peers see the same behaviours we feel we project? We spoke about recognising these behaviours in others and using that information in their leadership roles as head boys and girls, to help understand and empathise with people.
So far so good. Everyone was engaged and interested.
But then I brought up weaknesses…
“Because we all have them,” I cheerily said. “They are the flip-side to our strengths.”
Blank faces. Oh.
“Who thinks they have weaknesses?” I asked. A few hands tentatively went up.
“Who’s afraid to talk about their weaknesses?” I continued.
Every hand in the room shot up.
And that got me thinking. This is perhaps where we can help these bright, young people the most. The pressure on any student these days is immense: hitting targets; ticking all the right boxes; performing well in exams. But when the expectations rise ever higher, failure is not an option in their eyes, and weakness is not part of their language. But of course, making mistakes and messing up at various points of our lives is the only way we learn, improve, become more resilient and grow as human beings.
“Everyone has weaknesses,” I said. “Don’t fear them – embrace them!”
Identifying your weaknesses and managing them positively can be very powerful and effective in the workplace. We can’t be good at everything and we can’t do everything on our own.
That would make the world a very dull place, wouldn’t it?
“I can do things you cannot; you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”
Belbin GetSet is a 15-minute questionnaire culminating in a workbook full of personalised advice and guidance for young people aged between 14 and 19. It helps them identify their strengths, project them in a positive way and manage their weaknesses effectively.
The Belbin GetSet programme also offers a variety of free resources such as lesson plans and 45-minute soft-skills modules. Please contact us for further information. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01223 264975.
With thanks to all at Wells Cathedral School