I don't know if he ever took the VIA Survey, but I would guess that some of his top strengths were:
In fact, he knew his strengths and he used them often - unfortunately, too often. And, while he was a very likeable person, he was a pretty ineffective leader. He consistently did not acknowledge risks or issues. He loved creative ideas but was easily bored with operational issues. He rarely fired anyone for poor performance. In addition, he really didn't know how to adapt to situations. He continued to use his top strengths even when he wasn't getting results. His organization eventually fell into disarray.
In recent years, we have heard the experts tell us to use our strengths. And, Robert Biswas-Diener wrote a great post about using our strengths in the 'right' situations. But, how do we know when we're over-using a strength?
Unfortunately, I think over-used strengths usually represent a blind spot. That is, they're difficult to recognize. Remember, using a strength usually feels good. We are engaged when we are doing something that we're good at and we frequently go into a state of flow where time stands still. This can lead to situations where we lose our self-awareness.
Try these two strategies to examine the use of your own strengths:
- Look at situations where your initial thoughts were that you performed at a high level but the results did not follow. Did you misjudge the reactions of others? Did you miss some cues? List your top strengths and see if any of them actually contributed to the poor outcome.
- Ask for some feedback from people who know you well AND are not afraid to tell you the truth (that second part is VERY important). Take the VIA Survey to identify your top strengths. Share this list with your friend(s) and ask if you rely on these too much.