Recently, leading a retreat focused on understanding how individual contributions and personal working styles impact the goals of a team, one of the participants had positivity as a top strength and it shone in all of his interactions. He brought the enthusiasm. Paired with his high relator strength, he got along great with everyone in the room, and fluidly pointed out what each team member does well. Hearing this person describe the team, you would have thought they were issue-less. We went through an activity to identify how each of their strengths make them a better team member and what potential blind spots each strength might pose. The individual with high positivity was stumped. He asked the team, “How would positivity have a blind spot?” His positivity was so overwhelming that he honestly could not come up with a potential downside. Another team member, with high input and ideation, started spitballing ways it could be negatively perceived. He might be seen as naive by those who don’t know him well; people might think he is unaware of challenges; he might willfully ignore issues that need to be addressed.
The situation itself had the potential to be awkward and aggressive, but two things alleviated any tension: 1) the team member in the spotlight had already set the foundation for these open and honest conversations using his relator and positivity strengths to form strong relationships with his peers and 2) his positivity helped him quickly find the upside to the barriers that were being suggested. He reflected that he does recognize the reality of most situations but chooses each time to spend his energy focused on the possible positive outcomes. He decided that he would be more upfront in sharing his concerns and communicating the reasons for his optimism, to demonstrate that his positive attitude is a conscious choice.
This experience was a wonderful example of the value of knowing our blind spots then leaning into your strengths to address those blind spots! How can you lean into your strengths to mitigate your blind spots?