When creating and giving employee evaluations, how much time do you spend on strengths versus weaknesses? If you’re like most managers, you rack your brain to find every possible weakness and development need for the employee you’re evaluating. I remember having a hard time writing reviews for my best performers since it was more difficult to find areas of weakness. Telling them where they were doing a great job was almost an afterthought and not much more than a pat on the back.
Focusing on weaknesses might help an employee become a bit more “well rounded”, however, being “well rounded” is incredibly overrated. Employees will rarely become strong in an area of weakness. The best we can hope for is that they will rise to become mediocre. However, where an employee has talent, they can become world-class. In addition, focusing on maximizing those areas where we have true talent is incredibly motivating.
This doesn’t mean we should ignore weaknesses. By all means, if weaknesses are getting in the way of doing the job, you need to find ways to manage around those weaknesses. These can include looking for ways to get them to acceptable levels of performance, changing their responsibilities or counseling them out of your organization. But don’t expect them to become “expert” tomorrow in those areas they’re weak in today.