How to Assess Strengths & Weaknesses


Knowing your personal strengths and weaknesses in the workplace allows you to apply your skills to tasks that match your abilities, and to work to improve areas of deficiency. Two common strategies for personal assessment include a SWOT analysis and a 360 degree survey.

Personal SWOT Basics

  • A career-minded worker should periodically assess his strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – known as SWOT – just as a company does. Create a table with columns for each category. List all skills and positive attributes that lead to success in your career. Similarly, list areas of weakness or skill deficiency. For opportunities, list educational seminars or training for growth, as well as possible career advancements. Under threats, identify challenges that could hurt your personal success and growth.

Applying the 'S' and 'W' Information

  • After you develop a personal SWOT, you create strategies for using the information in the "strengths" and "weaknesses" categories. Ideally, your role within a company or team allows you to maximize your strengths. For instance, someone with excellent organization and detail-oriented abilities performs best in positions involving tasks like file management, data organization, record-keeping and reporting. You may need to meet with a supervisor to discuss your current role if you see a mismatch. With weaknesses, seek opportunities to grow and develop. Broader, stronger skills make you more valuable. On some qualities, however, you simply don't have the ability or desire to dramatically improve.

360 Degree Survey Basics

  • A 360 degree assessment means you gather input from supervisors, subordinates, colleagues, associates and clients. This tool allows you to understand your strengths and weaknesses from the perspective of those you work with. You may realize that your own perception is a bit off, which is useful to know. In creating a survey, lay out the roles you play with each stakeholder and develop questions that you would like the chance to answer if you were in their position. Simple starter questions are "What are my key strengths in working with you as a client?" and "What are some areas I could improve on?"

Applying 360 Degree Feedback

  • A 360 degree feedback survey is useful because you get to see how others perceive you as well as what traits they view as important. For example, a client would have more interest in your strengths or weaknesses in customer service than a typical peer would. You can prepare questions and present them on paper or through an anonymous electronic survey tool. As with the personal SWOT, you review the common strengths and weaknesses noted by each reviewer. Leverage your strengths, and engage in training and development for weaknesses that matter most in each role.

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