16 Employee Strengths and Weaknesses (With Ways to Improve)

By Indeed Editorial Team

3 January 2022

Having certain strengths as an employee can help you work efficiently, motivate you to finish your tasks on time and may improve your opportunities for career advancement. Employees typically have more skills in certain areas than in others. It's important to understand which strengths and weaknesses apply to you as a professional so you can maximise your strengths and develop your weaknesses. In this article, we explain why it's important to understand employee strengths and weaknesses and list eight examples of each.

Related: Interview Question: "What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?"

Why is it important to understand employee strengths and weaknesses?

If you understand your employee strengths and weaknesses, you can work to become a more self-aware professional and create a targeted strategy to develop and improve your skills. Strengths are the tasks you do easily and well. Focusing on your strengths allows you to use those skills to perform at a high level and show your value to the company.

Weaknesses are the activities and abilities that are less easy for you. By identifying your weaknesses, you can learn to compensate for them and take steps to improve them. You can make smart professional decisions by speaking with management about areas in which you could use improvement and asking for resources you can use to practise them. How you balance and manage your strengths and weaknesses can determine your success as a professional and your potential for leadership.

8 desirable employee strengths

Here are eight common employee strengths employers look for that can help you succeed as a professional:

1. Communication

Communication skills are important for any professional, as they allow you to give and receive important information when speaking with colleagues and management. Knowing how to ask questions, provide feedback and raise issues professionally can help you build positive relationships with your team members and managers. Active listening is also an important communication skill, as paying attention to what your colleagues and leaders have to say shows respect for their concerns and can help you grow in your own role.

Related: How to Improve Communication Skills (With Definition and Examples)

2. Diligence

Professionals often move into leadership positions because they have high standards and remain committed to producing quality work. They achieve and exceed goals, which allows them to show positive results to their teams and managers. They also understand how to elevate the performance of their colleagues and use their strengths and abilities to get optimal results.

3. Flexibility

Skilled professionals can adapt to changing work environments and new or unexpected situations easily. Business processes are often dynamic, and they may require employees to change their routines, work different hours or take on new roles. Flexible employees learn quickly so they can continue to be productive and work towards becoming efficient leaders. These employees are also comfortable learning new technologies, methods and developments.

4. Attention to detail

Employers consider attention to detail as a strength in the workplace because it allows you to focus your attention on each of your tasks and prioritise your work. Paying close attention to each aspect of your work can help you prevent errors and increase your productivity, which can make you more efficient as a professional. It can also help you stay organised and manage your time well.

5. Problem-solving

Competent employees can find creative and practical solutions to workplace issues. They can analyse a situation and identify the best approach for resolving it. Their problem-solving strengths allow them to think of new ideas and approaches to traditional problems. This skill can help them develop relationships with their managers and other members of their teams.

6. Teamwork

Even professionals who work independently can benefit from the ability to work well as part of a team. This allows them to collaborate with their teams to make decisions about important issues, solve problems together and discover new ideas that can benefit the team. This collaborative work environment can lead to more positive and productive teams.

Related: 7 Common Teamwork Interview Questions and Sample Answers

7. Reliability

Managers rely on employers to complete their tasks and meet deadlines on schedule. They expect employees to have a strong work ethic and be dependable members of their teams. Individuals who companies can trust can perform a task with little instruction or oversight and perform well consistently. Professionals with these abilities may improve their chances of receiving a promotion.

8. Optimism

Skilled employees maintain a positive outlook about the performance of both their team and the company. Optimism can motivate employees and elevate performance. It also allows employees and their colleagues to enjoy a shared vision of success, which can be particularly important during times of change within the organisation.

8 common employee weaknesses

There are many common weaknesses employees experience in the workplace, but there are also ways to overcome them and become more productive as a professional. Here are eight examples of employee weaknesses and suggestions for improvement:

1. Resistance to change

Experienced professionals often develop certain habits or routines that help them stay organised, prioritise their tasks and meet deadlines. These habits are often beneficial, but it's important to be open to change as the organisation grows or experiences significant transformations. Employees sometimes find it challenging to adjust their approach to their work during times of change, but speaking with management and colleagues about ideas for adapting to these changes may help you become more flexible.

2. Lack of confidence

Although humility is important in the workplace because it allows employees to learn and grow professionally, it's also important to be confident in your role. If you criticise your work often or avoid speaking in meetings, you may have a hard time earning the respect of your team members and managers. A lack of confidence can also make it difficult to be productive, as you may experience low job satisfaction. Consider taking steps to improve your confidence by asking managers for feedback, taking part in training programmes and sharing ideas with your team members.

3. Procrastination

Taking breaks at work can help you stay productive, but if you find it difficult to stay on task, procrastination might prevent you from reaching your full potential. Employees often procrastinate because they don't feel they have the skills to complete their jobs or they find their tasks too daunting. If you face these challenges, you can work to overcome them by seeking training resources from a manager or breaking large tasks into smaller ones, which can make them more manageable.

4. Trouble managing goals

Some employees don't take the time to set well-defined goals or consider whether the objectives they have set are achievable. Success requires setting and achieving clear and realistic goals. Goals allow you to be productive, prioritise your responsibilities and complete projects on time. You may find it easier to manage your goals if you prioritise your tasks based on how challenging they are and how much time you expect them to take, which can prevent you from feeling discouraged and encourage you to achieve them.

5. Impatience

Working at a consistent pace and managing your time well can increase your team's productivity, but it's important to remember that everyone works at a different pace. Becoming impatient with team members who have different methods for completing their tasks or who don't finish them as quickly as you do can lead to negative relationships between colleagues. You can practise patience by learning more about the way they work, providing constructive criticism and offering to help them when needed.

Related: Examples of Weaknesses: Top 7 Things to Share in a Job Interview

6. Close-mindedness

Teams and organisations can benefit from employees who are confident in their knowledge, skills and ideas, but employees who avoid considering others' points of view can make communication and development difficult. This can prevent teams and the organisation from reaching their goals. If you find it difficult to consider others' ideas and opinions, you might become more open-minded by recognising that others' views are as important to them as yours are to you. Take time to consider this and provide useful feedback instead of dismissing new ideas.

7. Uncompromising

Some professionals feel comfortable working independently. While this can be beneficial to the employee and their team, it's important for any employee to be open to accepting feedback about their work. Listening to others' concerns about your methods, especially if they affect the team, can help you improve their processes. It can also help you adapt to change, communicate well with their teams and managers and contribute to productivity.

8. Fear of risks

Being cautious about taking significant risks at work can prevent you from making mistakes, but some risks can help you and your team grow. Sometimes, applying new concepts to your work allows you to improve, and you may find you like this approach better than your previous one. You can learn to take potentially beneficial risks at work by talking about the opportunity with colleagues and management to gather feedback, focusing on the overall goal of the decision instead of the minor details and setting a time frame that allows you to take your time approaching it.