The popularity of assessment tools designed to measure a person’s talents in dozens of competency areas indicates that both companies and employees are taking a positive approach to on-the-job feedback. […] There are two problems with companies’ excessive focus on the positive. First, not all strengths are of equal importance. What you’re good at might not be what your firm needs you to be good at. The value placed on particular strengths often depends on the job context; the strengths needed usually vary by industry type, by job function, and by firm size and stage of development. You may have a set of skills or several strong behavioral traits that just aren’t of primary importance for your company at its particular state of incarnation. […] Second and more damaging is that the overreliance on “focusing on your strengths” can mask a critical skill gap or a personal blind spot that stops a talented person’s career in its tracks. The derailment research shows that careers stall more from having the “wrong stuff” (e.g., being insensitive to others) than lacking the “right stuff” (e.g., not having strong analytical skills). Competency assessments are widely used to gauge personal traits such as mental horsepower, emotional intelligence, and decisiveness as well as job skills, such as technical know-how. The problem is, these assessments gauge the “right stuff” areas and do not examine the “wrong stuff” areas, where people are vulnerable to derailment. Negative scores on derailment assessments are more predictive of an impending career problem than low scores on competency tests, which are administered much more often than are derailment assessments.
Author: Carter Cast
Subjects: Career, Human Resources, Organizational Behavior, Personal Development