Strengths and Weaknesses
Updated: Jul 20, 2019
Embrace your Strengths and recognise your Weaknesses
When I ask groups that I am working with what does a Dance Teacher running a dance school do, the list grows ever longer. Dance teaching itself is of course the core work, but the following is a list of things that teachers find themselves doing.
· Managing staff
· Cleaning floors
· Cleaning premises in general
· Social Media
· Website designer
· Policy writing
· Office Management
· Secretarial duties
· Travel agent
· Relationship counseling
· General handyperson
· Debt collector
· First aider
· Purchasing Officer
· Retailer of shoes and costumes
· Costume maker
· Party Planner
· Examination organizer
· Staff reviews
· Music expert
I could go on and I feel sure there are many tasks that are not on the list. It would be very strange if we were experts in all these diverse areas. For many years I battled on feeling insecure that I was failing in several areas and imagining that everyone else was succeeding where I was not. For anyone who has completed a team type analysis with Belbin I am a “plant” and sometimes a coordinator”(www.belbin.com).
Plants are creative, imaginative, free-thinking, generating ideas and solving difficult problems. Give me a problem or ask me for ideas and I’m your go to person. My weak area is to bring these ideas to completion. Because of that I sometimes start things and don’t finish them. Note to self: Must finish off my book sometime.
Enter a wonderful teacher who became the Manager of my dance school. Now running her own very successful school she would not mind me telling you that one of her strengths is as a Completer Finish (Belbin). Suddenly my working life was transformed. When our team types joined together we achieved an enormous amount both working to our strengths.
On reflection, I discovered that I have many friends and teaching colleagues who fit into that team role. Perhaps I sub consciously surround myself with colleagues with whom I fit. It is only by understanding ourselves and being able to recognise where we need help that things start to improve. For the teacher starting out in business it is important to be able to ask for help. This does not always have to be paid help, such as family and friends. Even members of your own school will step up and help if you make the first approach by telling them the problem. Of course this plays into our fears about own vulnerability but we should try to overcome our fears and play off our weaknesses by recognising our strengths.
That brings us nicely to Imposter Syndrome. The term was first coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists, Clance and Imes.. Imposter syndrome is a concept, describing people with an inability to appreciate and internalise their accomplishments and strengths. They have a persistent fear of being found out and exposed as a fraud. Even their achievements are written off to luck or good timing and chance. It is very common and I was first aware of it when I was competing in Latin American. It was a constant challenge to rid yourself of internal demons sapping your self-confidence. Even today I sometimes still suffer from the syndrome when I am about to deliver a lecture to a room full of students at a University or when I deliver a dance workshop to professionals.
You may recognise this phrase yourself: “Why did I think I could do this?”
However, recognising the syndrome goes a long way to solving the problems. I have learnt to internalise a compliment and embrace it instead of thinking there might be a hidden message. I can now look back at my career and appreciate the work I have done to develop my skills. I am honest about what I can do well. I understand the importance of teamwork.
So the message is to learn to appreciate yourself, your strengths and your weaknesses. I am going to teach a Paso Doble class tonight. I know rather a lot about the dance, so have no need to feel like an imposter. Before I do that I am sending this blog to my web designer and social media expert Charlotte at Virtual Owl marketing, as without her it would have remained half written, half in my head. All is well.