One interesting thing that happens to me at parties is that when people discover I am a psychologist, they want to share some professional or personal issue to get my insight. It is an occupational hazard, and it happened again this past weekend.
After being introduced to a fellow by a mutual friend, our conversation eventually turned to his concerns about his son, who did not seem to be doing well in his sales job. He was capable enough except when he had to initiate conversations, such as at a networking event or conference.
It seemed that Dad provided lots of good ideas for his son but couldn’t understand why his son didn’t seem to possess that same quality as his father.
“Ah,” I asked, “and what is that quality?”
Dad didn’t have an answer
I told him that I use the Gallup Strengthfinders assessment with my corporate clients because it focuses on behaviors, not personality. One of my favorite strengths is “WOO,” which stands for Winning Others Over. The same quality he is referencing is missing with his son. “WOO” is the ability to walk into a room where you don’t know people and be comfortable and effective in meeting up and engaging in conversations.
It is a quality renowned by good politicians who can make anyone feel like they are the politician’s best friend. It is also a quality that is not in high supply, that is, that most people are not good at executing.
When I asked him what his son was good at, he shared that when he decides that something must get done, he becomes like a laser beam, focused on just that one thing. I told him that strength is called “Responsibility” and translates to the ability to take complete ownership of a task and get it done. His son may not be WOO, but he is responsible, which is an important skill.
We all have our strengths, and we often focus on our weaknesses. It’s OK to take something we are just OK at and try to improve, and it is far more fun to focus on what we do well and do it spectacularly.
The Leadership Café
In this edition of the Leadership Café, we talk with serial entrepreneur Lou Musante of Echo Strategies. We explore why it’s essential to “maintain connections with the mothership” during remote work and how the pandemic has shifted the priority focus of organizations from customers to employees.