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5 Career Strengths That Can Become Liabilities

5 Career Strengths That Can Become Liabilities

By Taylor DuPuy
Monster Contributing Writer


Even star employees have strengths that can turn into liabilities when they’re not applied wisely in the workplace. If you take pride in the following strengths at work, keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t turn into liabilities that undermine your career.

Strength: Strong attention to detail.

This strength is important in a wide variety of positions, and employees who have it almost always include it on their resumes.

“Many employers like people who have a strong attention to detail and are able to follow procedures exactly,” says career expert Amanda Haddaway. “But sometimes with these traits fail to be flexible and innovative in their thought processes.”

Employees who are good with details should be ready to adjust to new ideas and procedures, especially when the company goes through a period of change and growth.

Strength: Strong interpersonal relationship skills.

It’s important for employees to get along with lots of different people in a workplace, but this strength has its weak spots as well, says career development coach Wendy Nolin.

A people person “may oversell him/herself and turn people off or be too lenient and have difficulty disciplining people,” she says. They may also trust others indiscriminately.

Even if you’re a “people person,” be aware that not everyone is and that being nice isn’t always the best course of action.

Strength: Expertise.

Everyone likes to shine in front of their co-workers. Employees who are go-to problem-solvers feel needed. However, says workplace consultant Steve Langerud, “They can become trapped in work that diverts them from their primary tasks. The weakness is that they have to struggle to keep up with their primary activities. They become resentful for doing work that becomes expected and not appreciated, and spend less time developing core skills.”

If this describes your situation, learn how to define your boundaries and not take on too many tasks that distract you from your work.

Strength: Ambition and an intense work ethic.


Even people who are hard-driving and productive can find that strength turn into a liability.

“Generally, having ambition at work is great because are more productive and have a goal,” says Scott Rawitscher, owner of Collaborative Business Solutions. “Unfortunately, because you have this goal, you can become impatient, sometimes with nobody to really blame for the sheer amount of time it takes to reach your goal. Too often people get frustrated with their career because it isn’t moving fast enough.”

It’s important ambitious people to be realistic about the amount of time it takes to reach career goals.

Strength: Visionary idea generation.

Being able to see the big picture and come up with plans for the future is an enviable skill to have. But as life coach Julie Melillo says, “It may mean you miss important details. No one will get to hear your amazing marketing strategy ideas if you forget to attend the meeting.”

In addition, “this personality can often want to create the solution and for others to agree it is a great idea and just follow,” says Mary Lee Gannon, president of Starting Over Now. “They sometimes miss that you must first engage a team in a shared purpose and allow them work together to come up with the plan in order to get them to own the results.”

Using calendars and lists are helpful strategies for visionaries who miss the details. It’s also important for them to focus on getting buy-in from fellow team members as they put plans into motion.

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