Returning for a moment to the question of superpowers…

One of the claims of the Strengthsfinder people, and also of the Life@work people, and also of Marcus Buckingham, who is a member of both those groups, is that we should give up the idea of well-roundedness.

We focus, these guys say, on our areas of weakness. We try to get better at stuff we’re not so good at, and ignore the things we are good at. If a child is good at math and weak on reading, we focus on reading with them. If we’re skillful with ideas and not so good at clerical work, then we strive to improve in that area of weakness, figuring that we’re already good at ideas so we don’t need to worry about that.

Buckingham says that we should, instead, focus on our own strengths and partner with people who have strengths different from our own. This way, we’ll complement them and they’ll complement us, and we’ll end up with a complete product of excellence.

CD and I were discussing this on Sunday. She said that my attempting to learn to play handbells (and I have gotten better over the years — I just haven’t actually gotten good) improved my ability to read music, which made me a better singer. Had I not been working on that area of weakness, I wouldn’t have increased my area of strength.

She’s quite right. I also have developed strengths in my work which I didn’t have before. It is arguable that these things are merely skills, though, and not strengths. That is, when I learn more about tech stuff, then I am just using my superpowers of Input, Ideation, Learning, and Strategery (or gathering and disseminating information, as I used to put it) in a new context. It looks like I’m doing new stuff, but I’m really not.

What do you think? Do you try to be a well-rounded person, or try to lead your kids to be well-rounded people? or do you focus on your areas of strength?