What is your greatest weakness?

By Justin Bariso via inc.com  Article

How Should I Answer: What Is Your Greatest Weakness?’ There’s Really Only 1 Way

 “It’s the question millions of job applicants hear on a daily basis: What is your greatest weakness? … Not only is this question a fantastic interview tool, but learning to answer it effectively will also greatly increase your emotional intelligence–the ability to make emotions work for you instead of against you.

How to answer effectively.

… whether or not you’re interviewing for a job, answering this question can lead to amazing growth. Why? Because it promotes self-awareness, one of the core elements of emotional intelligence. Self-awareness is the ability to identify and understand your emotions and emotional tendencies. It lays the foundation for many of what I call the 10 commandments of emotional intelligence.

… it’s not easy to identify one’s own weaknesses. Doing so takes intense self-reflection, critical thinking, and the ability to accept negative feedback–qualities that have gone severely missing in a world that promotes instant gratification and demands quick (often thoughtless) replies to serious issues.

The key is to actually ponder this question-and to do so regularly. There are no microwave answers, and neither is it about making yourself look good. It’s about identifying your tendencies. … once you identify a major weakness, you can actually do something about it.

To illustrate, let’s say you discover that you’re a people-pleaser. Not only have you identified that, but you’ve also given it serious thought; you can even name specific occasions when that trait has harmed you–like the time it caused you to buy a product you didn’t really want, because you liked the salesperson.

As a result, you can take steps to combat that weakness. Now when you meet a salesperson you like, you ask for time to think about buying before making any rash decisions. When leading others at work, you’re quick to praise and commend, but you also force yourself to give the necessary critical feedback your team needs to improve. …

But learning to identify and combat weaknesses goes far beyond interviewing. And while this example can help you understand the process, it’s not a template for ‘what you’re supposed to say.’ Your answer should be born out of your reflection and experiences, gleaned from feedback you’ve received from others. And it should be accompanied by your own well-thought-out strategies.

So, when it comes to the question ‘What is your greatest weakness,’ don’t hate the player, or the game. Instead, embrace it. Ponder it. Learn from it. And use it to make yourself better.

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