Are You Overdoing Your Strengths? How to Dial it Back

blindspots career advancement career advice how to get promoted leadership development promotion strengths strengths overdone team building team engagement Oct 23, 2020
Woman comparing your leadership styles

Lately, I’ve become a bit obsessed with SPLAT points. It’s part of a tracking system at a gym I joined where you strap on a heart monitor that displays your progress on a large screen as a fitness coach challenges you to stay at a base pace (green zone), a push (orange zone) or an All-Out! (red zone). It’s a little crazy. The music is always loud. And it’s exactly what I needed to break out of the work-from-home-all-the-time COVID funk.

The SPLAT points work for me because I am motivated by achieving results. The longer I stay in the orange/red zone, the more SPLAT points I get which equals your after-workout burn.  I know that if I stay in the red zone too long, I’ll likely pull a hamstring. I don’t have to be told that. When I’m on a treadmill, I can feel my muscles telling me when to back off. But we’re not always on a treadmill, so how do you know when you’ve pushed a Strength over the edge into a Strength Overdone?

Usually, it’s when something doesn’t go as you imagined even though you’ve given it your best or some version of a behaviour that typically gets you results. You’re giving it an All-Out and it’s just not landing, or worse, people are just turned off and tuning you out.

When I’m helping leaders and their teams become more effective,  I use an assessment tool that gives you not only a portrait of your strengths and what motivates them, but an explanation of which of your unique strengths are most likely to be overdone. This provides important intel for those wanting to advance in their careers, grow their business or achieve that next level of success both individually and within your team. What I like about the thinking behind this tool is that it talks about the motivations for why we behave in a certain way.

For example, according to the assessment, along with SupportiveLoyal and Inclusive, my top strengths are also Quick-to-Act and Self-Confident. Quick-to-Act as a strength means to be efficient and productive. As a strength overdone, it could come across as Rash – even though my motivation behind that behaviour is to get things moving to prevent delays and get results. To someone whose top strength is to be Analytical, you can see how conflict can emerge if these two team members (Quick-to-Act and Analytical) are both using their strengths All-Out on the same project or deadline. To be a more high functioning team, they would need to appreciate the motivation behind each other’s behaviour to find common ground.

I’ve been supporting leaders and their teams in either strategic communication or executive coaching capacity for nearly three decades. I enjoy helping individuals identify their strengths and when they might need to "dial them up or dial them down." And since one of my strengths is Quick to Act, I’m very excited to have found a tool that now gives me a shortcut to help you do this very important work. 

Let’s Get Started!

Wishing You Much Success,

Karen Kelloway, BPR PCC
Your Career Story Editor


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