The Power of Awkward

People view the world through the eyes of their strength.

Ms. Organization believes systems and structure are the answer. Mrs. Truth believes you should confront issues and kick some butt. Mr. Tenderheart, on the other hand, finds reasons to give people second and third chances.

you've used your strengths to the point of failureThe strong don’t get it:

People who are good at something wonder what’s the problem. Why are you struggling with confrontation, for example. Just do it! But, in frustration, you ask, “How?”

A manager who is good at having tough conversations didn’t realize some of the things she was doing. Her colleagues explained how she calmed herself, centered on the goal, put on her “firm voice,” and started nodding her head while she talked.

Everyone around the table laughed about her scary “firm voice.”

How can you help someone explain their strength when they do it naturally?

Try on someone else’s strength:

Your colleague is great at tough conversations. You ask for advice. They look quizzical and say, “Just do it.”

When they can’t explain what to do, tell them what you plan to do.

Tell them what you’re going to try and watch them cringe. They’ll see the flaws in your approach without even trying.

When you see them cringe, ask, “What would you do?”

Listen for simple easy insights. What’s difficult for you is easy for them.

Power of awkward:

Their strength feels awkward in your skin. Find ways to try it anyway. Practice. Roleplay. Test it in small ways where failure doesn’t matter much.

You’ve used your strengths to the point of failure. Awkward feeling behaviors take you to the next level.

How might leaders draw insight and wisdom from others?

How might leaders try on someone else’s strength?