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The Strengths - Weakness Paradox















Continuing my explanation of the LIFO Method as discussed in “Managing Your Strengths” which Alan Katcher and I published in 2002. My previous post highlighted the LIFO Golden Rule, “Treat others the way they would like to be treated.” This post covers the “Strengths Weakness Paradox.” First a few foundational statements: · We learn to behave towards others in ways that best satisfy our psychological and physical needs for fulfillment. · Our preferred behavioral orientation represents the source of our strengths which, when we can understand, develop, and manage them; can be even more productive in satisfying our needs. · However, when our strengths are carried to excess they can be counterproductive. In effect, they can become our weaknesses. · This tendency to use our strengths in excess becomes most counterproductive when we are affected by conditions of stress and conflict. Why do we sometimes use our strengths to excess? Two reasons. 1) The behavior has been successful in the past and we have felt or been rewarded for acting that way. 2) A situation that causes us to feel under pressure or threatened induces stress levels that can trigger responses out of proportion to how we normally behave. The graphic with this post from “Managing Your Strengths” offers examples of productive use of strengths and how they become unproductive if used to excess due to threatening or stressful situations. Also, if our response is based solely on our own needs and not those of the person(s) with whom we are interacting, we can sometimes misread their verbal or body language signals, causing us to use our strengths at an inappropriate time or situation. Learning to recognize the triggers that cause us to shift our behaviors into less productive modes is an important element in developing self-awareness. Without self-knowledge we cannot take action to control those tendencies that can potentially harm how we relate to others. In my next LIFO post, I will explain the 4 behavioral orientations that we all use to varying degrees.

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