What’s Your Addiction?

By: Julie Johnson, December 6, 2016

Is there something you just can’t get enough of? I’m not talking about obvious addictive vices like alcohol, drugs or even food. Rather, I’m referring to behavioral addictions. We all have them, though you may not even be aware of yours. One of our flagship behavioral assessments, The Devine Inventory, measures these attributes. In our assessment we call them ‘high marginal behaviors.’ What it means is “too much of a good thing” or a strength that is overused. Anyone who has interviewed for a new position has heard the common question: tell me about one of your weaknesses. People are often coached to respond to this question with a strength that is so strong it becomes a weakness. This is your addiction.

Why behavioral addictions matter

Self-awareness is a difficult but important concept to comprehend. In order to grow, you must be knowledgeable about what makes you great and what causes you to stumble. Your behavioral addiction might be your best attribute, but if you’re not aware of how it impacts others or your job role, it could be detrimental to future career opportunities. When I coach individuals, they immediately focus on their lowest assessment scores, but sometimes the higher scores are what’s holding them back. Some examples of this include being too organized, too aggressive, planning too much into the future, or oversharing when you communicate.

The impact of a person’s behavioral addiction also depends on his or her position within a company. What might be a great attribute for one job might not be helpful in another. Sometimes, individual contributors who are promoted into management positions end up floundering because what made them great as individual contributors became a behavioral addiction in a management role. For example, an individual contributor who is very detail oriented and self-accountable might have a difficult time letting go of ownership and delegating assignments to the team.

How to identify, understand and control your addiction

First, ask the people who know and work with you what they think you tend to overdo or obsess about. Analyze what causes tension between you and a coworker or a family member at home. Look at your assessment results and focus on the high scores. Is there something that a team member relies on you too much for that is disallowing them to grow or be accountable? Be open to all the feedback you receive in order to learn more about your addiction and gain self-awareness.  Be curious about why your behavioral addiction is too much of a good thing in your job role or even your home life. Once you’ve determined your behavioral addiction, create a plan to address it. Develop strategies that will dial down this strength so that it helps propel you forward in the workplace instead of holding you back.