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Talent is a natural way of thinking, feeling, or behaving. You’ve probably seen this definition many times, and therefore you know that everyone has talents. Everyone! There is, for example, the talent to start acting on ideas quickly, to notice potential problems, to see connections between ideas, and many, many other ordinary skills that we don’t typically notice. At the same time, we may know that we lack many talents. And this is natural. There is nothing bad about it. However, you may ask the question – when is the lack of a talent a weakness? Read on to find out!
What do I do when I don’t have a talent I’d love to have?
As I briefly mentioned in the introduction, it’s natural to not have certain talents. However, you may wish you had these talents as you imagine they would make you more efficient, productive, or even more successful. So, is there something you can do about it? Gallup and StrengthsFinder give you three methods for overcoming the lack of a talent.
Method 1 - – Take a look at the talents you do have
The first method for overcoming the lack of a talent is to use a talent you do have that can help you achieve similar results.
I’ll give you an example.
My last, 34th, talent is Strategic. Strategic is a talent that allows you to see alternative ways of solving problems, moving forward, developing ideas, etc. Someone with this talent can identify these alternatives very quickly. I’d love to have this talent, as there are a lot of situations where I need to spot alternative ways of proceeding. Unfortunately, this just isn’t the way I operate. So I analyzed my dominant themes to look for a talent that could help me in this area. And I found one! In my top five, I have a talent called Intellect. It’s a talent from the same domain as Strategic - Strategic Thinking. Like Strategic, it also helps in decision making, but in a very different way. Intellect requires more data and much more time to determine the right way of moving forward. This talent is not known for resulting in speedy decisions, but instead enables a thorough process of decision making.
Now that I know how Intellect works, I consciously use it when I need to determine alternatives for a project or a life decision. The difference is in the time I give myself to make this decision. I also try to explain this process to my coworkers, telling them that I may need additional time to make up my mind. I don’t try to make quick decisions because I know that I’m not able to get an immediate grasp of the big picture. Now that I realize how my own talents work, I don’t regret not having the Strategic talent anymore. Instead, I can use the talents I do have to achieve the same goals.
Method 2 - Find a partner who has the needed talent
The second method of overcoming the lack of a talent is to find a partner who has that talent and can help when needed.
Again, I’ll use the example of the Strategic talent. As I wrote above, I learned to use the Intellect talent when I need to make a decision. Yet, sometimes I don’t have enough time to think everything through. At these times, I go to my friend Dawid, who has Strategic in his dominant talents. I tell him what the problem is, and he is able to give me a number of alternatives on the spot. I try not to rely on his help extensively, but I know that he’s there for me when I need him.
If you notice that you also lack a certain talent that you need from time to time, you may want to consider the talents of your friends and colleagues. I bet there is at least one person with the talent you need who is willing to help you!
Method 3 – Build a support system
The third method to deal with the lack of a talent is to build a support system.
What is a support system? It’s something that helps you limit the negative consequences of lacking a certain talent.
In the case of Strategic (the talent I lack), my support system is a very simple template for making a decision. It reminds me what questions it’s good to ask myself before making an important decision. For example, when I start a project, I open a mind map which contains these questions (as in the image below). I go through the mind map, branch after branch, and answer the questions. With the aid of this mind map, I can make well thought out decisions more quickly.
When is the lack of a talent a weakness?
We are now approaching the most important question - when is the lack of a talent a weakness? And when should we spend our energy in trying to overcome that weakness?
Weaknesse is a situation when we do not have a talent that is needed to succeed in our role.
If you are a person who has a role that requires being precise, focused, and analytical, and you don’t have talents like Responsibility, Focus, Deliberative, Analytical, Discipline, or Restorative, then “no talent” may be your weakness.
If you are a person who needs to communicate a lot and influence others and all of your dominant talents are, for example, in the Executing Domain (Achiever, Arranger, Belief, Consistency, Deliberative, Discipline, Focus, Responsibility, and Restorative), then that may be your weakness, too.
Should you ever change your role?
Are there any circumstances when you should change your role based on your weaknesses? The answer is short: Yes! If in your current role you need a given talent and it’s your “no talent,” then you can probably manage it using one of the above methods. But when your role requires more talents that are your “no talents,” then it’s time to reconsider that role.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Which talents do I use most often in my role?
- Are there any talents that are my “no talents” which are needed in my role?
- How do I deal with my lack of these talents?
- In the context of my role, which of the “no talents” are my weaknesses?
If you answer these questions honestly, then you can probably get a good idea of whether you’re in the right role. If it isn’t a good role for you, consider what needs to change to make it a better fit. Of course, it’s a smart idea to include your manager in this process.
Knowledge of the differences between “no talent” and weakness allows you to assess whether your current role is right for you. If you have to overcome the lack of several talents, it’s smart to seek a different role that is a better fit. Use what you know about your talents and rate potential roles in the context of the talents that you do you have. Will you be able to use your talents in that role – or will you be forced to compensate for the lack of certain talents?