I was at an interesting leadership workshop a couple days ago and the conversation came around to our perceived strengths and areas for improvement . The word weakness wasn't used, instead the word deficiencies was substituted. I really liked this because in my mind being deficient simply means you haven't acquired something yet. On the other hand, to me a weakness is something you need to overcome, a type of obstacle.
Does that mean we do not have weaknesses? Of course not, I have a weakness for the sweet and salty foods I should be avoiding as the years continue to pass by. This is one of my personal weaknesses. A professional weakness would be the way I obsess over things too often at work. I worry that my decisions will not be embraced by everyone and that there will be people who are unhappy with me. The core of this weakness lies in my emotions, my feelings, my need to have those around me happy. This weakness is something I need to live with. I have identified it and understand why I feel the way I do when making decisions. In reality I need to use this as a compass, to be aware of it and not be afraid or debilitated by it.
I pointed out two weaknesses, but what about deficiencies? I will stick to my leadership skills for now, mainly because I would need several blogs to talk about all of my other deficiencies. Case in point, come and look at my garden in August, you will see I have a deficiency in the ability to grow vegetables. As a leader I have identified two deficiencies I want to address as I continue to grow in my field (no gardening pun intended). The first is in the area of budgeting. I have never had to set a school budget, however, when I become a principal (which is my ultimate goal) I will need to do this. I have had the opportunity to work with other principals as they do this, but I have never had to do this on my own. The second is setting a vision for a school, and this is a tougher one. I know what I believe when it comes to education and why I believe it, but getting those around me to "buy in" or believe what I believe scares me a bit. I have shared my vision with others, and many share this vision, however there are those out there that do not. How do I get them "on board" without resorting to a "my way or the highway" mentality? Right now I have a deficiency in setting a school on desired path and developing a budget to support this. Are my deficiencies a result of a lack of experience? Maybe, but this does not mean I can't identify where I need work, find resources, and start addressing my needs.
So what about you? What are your deficiencies? Do not confuse them with weaknesses, those can be addressed and if you want, utilized while your deficiencies are simply opportunities waiting to be accomplished.
If you have any thoughts or feedback, I'd love to hear it!