What are you bad at? Strategies for your weaknesses.

What are your weaknesses? And what are you going to do about them?

Photo: Roiz Roiz

For example, you might be bad at:

  • Writing.
  • Teamwork.
  • Confidence.
  • Math and spreadsheets.
  • Graphic design.
  • Concentrating.
  • Meeting deadlines.
  • Treating others with respect.
  • Planning.
  • Public speaking.
  • Running meetings.
  • And so on . . .

Avoid or improve?

The first step is to identify what you’re actually bad at. Whatever it is, the signs are there. Your coworkers are probably telling you, perhaps in subtle ways, that you need to work on some skill or way of interacting. And your supervisor may be including these skills and methods in your evaluations.

So, what can you do? There are two strategies: improvement and avoidance.

Avoidance looks like this:

  • Focus on your strengths and find ways to hide or avoid your problems.
  • Make a change in your job description or a lateral move so you don’t have to do whatever it is you’re bad at.
  • Find some other person at work, perhaps one of your direct reports, and have them do the things you’re weak at.
  • Ignore your problem and hope your strengths mean that others will put up with your weaknesses.

Improvement looks like this:

  • Find and learn from media (books, articles, videos, podcasts) that can help you improve your skills.
  • Participate in a formal program at work to evaluate your performance on the skill you want to improve.
  • Choose a “buddy” at work that you trust, who can give you feedback on how you could do better. (Depending on the amount of trust in your relationship with your supervisor, this could be them or someone else.)
  • Choose a specific instance where you need to use the skill you’re weak at, prepare far more than you normally would, and work with colleagues to get feedback on how well you did and what you could improve.
  • Take training classes or attend events related to what you want to learn.

How to pick a strategy

It’s pretty simple.

Imagine yourself five or ten years from now. Think about the job you will have then. Maybe you want rise from content specialist to VP of marketing, or become an entrepreneur, or have a successful freelance business writing mobile apps.

Once you’ve got that dream in mind, think about your weakness.

If it’s going to get in the way of your dream, you’d better get to work on improving it.

If it doesn’t matter, maybe you can get away with avoiding the problem.

Just one thing, though. Dreams have a way of shifting over your career. You may find avoidance only gets you so far.

You may as well improve. Face your problem before it gets in the way of your future success.

Anticipating the pain of effort is almost always worse that the effort itself.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Classic question.
    Improvement option assumes one can improve. That is often not the case. Unless defect is fatal, avoid can be a better option. Build a team of partners that covers whatever is needed.
    And understand your weaknesses, find a place where vulnerability is cherished, and partner to be the best.

  2. Naturally, the improvement option is only relevant if one can and desires to improve. Avoidance, may be an alternative providing it does not fall into denial. To understanding one’s weakness, I would add embracing it, having self-compassion and going forth undeterred.