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Can I Own My Greatest Weakness?

I saw an interesting article on LinkedIn and it got me thinking, what is my greatest professinonal weakness? I thought I would share what I think mine used to be, as I have been (and still am) working on it. I have been known to have the "honesty" filter off, in that I say what I feel when asked  my opinion.  I have learned it is just as important how I say something as what I say.

I am hoping others will share here as "soft skills" matter more than ever in the world of corporate finance.


Tarun Joshi
Title: Manager
Company: Deutsche Bank
(Manager, Deutsche Bank) |

Hi, In my view, the weakness is the same, may it be in professional life or personal life. This is because the person is the same. Hence, we cannot categorise a weakness into professional or otherwise.

Topic Expert
Christie Jahn
Title: CFO
Company: Prime Investments & Development
(CFO, Prime Investments & Development) |

I would recommend reading Strength Finder. Take the assessment and see what your strengths are. Then build upon what it is that you are truly good at and turn your weaknesses into opportunities. Each of us did the assessment in our office and posted the top three on a plaque outside our office. As a team it has helped tremendously when you can realize you may be asking someone to do something that is completely outside of their strengths. To answer your question though: To grow and develop we need to be able to evaluate our areas of opportunity (weakness) and learn how to capitalize on them and sometimes keep them at bay (learn to filter what you say; you can still be honest in your feedback, but try not being so blunt about it and you can have the same outcome you desire).

Theodore Omtzigt
Title: CEO

The problem with strength and weakness is that it is contextual and fluid. Think about being a cop, or a hostage negotiator: you will need to be very in tune with the situation and adapt to its constraints. In a very narrow 'task' of mediating an irate assailant we can articulate strength and weakness of doing that job, but what about mediating with a psychopath? Requires different strengths. I would argue that any non-trivial job requires a broad spectrum of problem solving approaches, so answering the strength and weakness question is more an exploration about the spectrum of problems and your awareness of them than it is about strength and weakness.

Mark Matheny
Title: VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis
Company: Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)
(VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis, Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)) |

I think a weakness is relevant to a time and place.

Marlon Laidley
Title: Budget Analyst
Company: JPS
LinkedIn Profile
(Budget Analyst, JPS) |

Sometimes as finance professionals we are not has self-aware has we should be, and so getting honest feedback from the people around us (especially other departments) is critical. What you perceive to be your strength is sometimes your biggest weakness. The inability to tailor one's communication while been honest is one of the biggest weaknesses of many finance professionals.

Pat Voll
Title: Vice President
Company: RoseRyan
(Vice President, RoseRyan) |

Great question Ernie -- I think as a profession, accountants tend to focus on technical skills much more than soft skills. In reality, soft skills are so much more important in being able to accomplish goals, contribute to the success of the organization and move the team forward. Totally agree with Theodore and Mark - different situations call for different approaches; understanding the differences is critical. I have so much respect for people who seem able to take a breath and assess the situation before responding....

Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

Here is personal anecdote of a trait that is a strength and also a weakness. Years ago, I served as a Chief of Staff to a CEO handling everything under the sun and representing the CEO (in his absence) in all matters. As a typical finance background professional, I used to jump out of my seat when an issue or problem crops up and immediately tries to solve/address them. I was like a dog with his ears up and panting excited to address/solve the problem. (Ok..bad visual).

I was doing this for about two months (start) then my CEO called me in his office. He said that as much as he appreciates the work I was doing, the eagerness to solve issues/problems immediately, he told me to reign it up a bit. I was perplexed why he wanted me to ease up. He said.... Not every problem/issues need actions NOW. Some issues/problems only need a nudge. Some problems need a nudge (or actions) somewhere else (in the organization) and not the direct part. He even said....Some issues/problems does NOT need your actions/solutions and will solve itself through time. ....and this takes maturity and developed skills to recognize.

The lesson was.....Identifying issues/problems and choosing the right time with the least actions affecting the least number of people to solve the problem/issue Not every protruding nail head needs to be struck. Not every nail head needs a hammer.

I quickly learned.....and I am still learning and honing this skill.

Ernie Humphrey CTP
Title: VP, Thought Leadership
Company: Stampli
LinkedIn Profile
(VP, Thought Leadership, Stampli) |

Thank you Emerson, very well put, and I have "lived this" as well. Effective leadership sometimes involves taking a step back and allowing others to resolve issues.

Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

"rein".... just could not leave it that way.


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