When a driver fails to check their blind spot before changing lanes, an accident can easily happen; similarly, when an accounting professional fails to have a clear understanding of their weaknesses, it can be very detrimental to their career. Today we want to talk about a potentially unpopular subject: assessing and understanding your own weaknesses.

Benefits of Understanding Your Weaknesses

Nobody really enjoys contemplating what they are bad at, but it is an exercise well worth the effort. Understanding your weaknesses can help you in a number of important ways, including:

  • Knowing where to focus your efforts for improvement
  • Understanding how to work best within a team (e.g., working cooperatively with someone whose strengths make up for your weaknesses and vice versa)
  • Being able to give a good answer to the dreaded interview question, “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?”

Tips for Assessing Your Weaknesses 

Understanding your weaknesses is no easy task. It can be hard to be honest with yourself. Clearly, you are operating from a biased viewpoint.

We recommend a combination of self-examination and input from outside sources in order to develop a well-rounded picture of your weaknesses. Here are some tactics to try:

  1. Do an honest self-assessment. Take the time to sit down and focus on evaluating yourself. Make sure that you are free from distractions during the process.
  2. Contemplate past failures or struggles on your part and what might have caused them. Think about areas in which you have required help on more than one occasion. Consider if there are certain types of projects or tasks that leave you feeling more drained than others.
  3. Take a personality test. There are many different types of tests available. Oftentimes, these exercises can reveal things about yourself that you had no idea were true. Here are some different personality tests to consider:
  • The DISC Personality Test
  • The Myers-Briggs Type Indicators
  • The Enneagram Personality Test
  • StrengthsFinder 2.0
  1. Ask a teammate to give you a blunt assessment. Be sure that you choose someone who you know will not sugarcoat the truth. You can even consider showing them the list of weaknesses you already developed to ask them to assess its accuracy. If you are not close enough with anybody on your current team, try reaching out to a former coworker with whom you are still in contact.
  2. Contemplate any issues brought to your attention at annual job reviews. What areas of improvement have you heard mentioned? Are there any issues that are regularly brought up during your evaluations?

Though this process may not be fun, it is certainly worthwhile. Your weaknesses can hold you back from achieving success in many areas—especially those weaknesses of which you are unaware. Understanding where you are lacking is the crucial starting point for self-improvement. Be sure to remember that you certainly do have the power and ability to improve.