One question that lets you cut right through small talk.

One question that lets you cut right through small talk.

As a nerd and geek, I grew up with comics. Superman, Spiderman, and Phantom were very common in India around that time. So inspired by my past, I asked a question about superpower and kryptonite during one of my interviews. Then I asked it again to a co-worker and once again during a performance review. It slowly morphed into a go-to discussion. It leads us not to strengths and weakness but to how we can leverage each other and help each other out. This question also avoids the very canned answers from an interviewee.

Superman: image credits

Superpower is the one thing that takes you forward. It is your greatest strength. There might be many strengths, but this one is special. What makes it unique is that you can tell many stories about your superpower how you used it and how it improved you. It makes an introvert talk about themselves. We have also seen the movie where too much superpower is bad and the person who uses it everywhere is the villain.

My superpower is passion and energy. I can be intense and tireless. It fuels my creativity and ultimately my happiness. It makes me better at work and home. I am the one who gets excited about taking the kids to a museum, and it becomes contagious. During my agency days, it allowed me to travel tirelessly. During my startup days, it pushed me to work after the kids went to bed at night. And in big corporations, it drives my tenacity and discipline when it is very easy to get involved in the urgency of the day.

What is your Superpower?

For Superman, kryptonite is what makes him powerless. Fun fact: It was introduced only in 1943 when Bud Collyer a radio show host who played Superman wanted to take a vacation. The creative team included this crazy radiation from Krypton and the stand-in moaned in pain for a few episodes until Bud returned. Kryptonite is Superman’s Achilles’ heel. It makes him vulnerable. I am emotional, and that is my kryptonite, and yes it is related to my passion. I have re-learnt over the years that kryptonite is not a bad thing after all. Being emotional makes me good. I care more and I put more love into things I do. It has made me a better manager and a better parent and a better decision maker. I am also continuously learning to channel my emotional side intentionally.

So what is your Kryptonite?