“If you spend too much time working on your weaknesses, all you end up with is a lot of strong weaknesses.” ~ Jack Canfield
Dear Readers: I’m taking a hiatus from writing new blog posts for a bit, so I’ll be sharing some of my most popular past posts over the next few weeks. Hope you enjoy this one – please share your thoughts in the Comments box below!
I’m going straight to the point in today’s post. One of the most important things you as a leader can do to leverage your own skills (and those of your team) more effectively is to focus on strengths.
“What?!” you say.
“My Mom/5th grade teacher/baseball coach told me that in order to succeed in life/school/sports I needed to improve my weakest areas. Focusing on my strengths will give me a giant ego/narrow my focus too much/make me less of an all around utility player.”
A strengths-based orientation is counter-intuitive to most of us.
We’re usually told that we should improve by focusing on our
weaknesses: every kid first looks at how many questions she missed on
the test rather than on the number she got right.
Contrary to popular thought, many researchers are now showing that the best way of getting more from ourselves and from those around us is by focusing on and developing our inherent strengths and talents.
So, how do you know what your strengths are?
Generally when we work from our strengths…
• We’re good at what we do
• Our work is energizing
• We look forward to our work
• Time goes quickly
• We’re enjoyable to be around
• We treat those around us well
Generally when we work outside our strengths…
• We don’t excel at our work
• Our work is tiring
• We dread work
• Time drags on
Most of us are painfully aware of our weaknesses, but repeatedly ignore the critical strengths so essential to our success – rarely even noticing or recognizing them!
It’s time to turn that around!
If any of this this sounds familiar, and you’re curious about taking a strengths-based approach in your work, try this:
1) Get familiar with your own strengths. Developing your own self-awareness as a leader is a key component of effective leadership, and effective leaders know and harness their own strengths. The Strengths-Based work of Gallup, including their assessment tool, are solid, well-researched and inexpensive resources.
2) Know your team’s strengths. All strengths have something to offer at both the individual and team levels, and effective leaders will find ways to understand and appreciate the contributions of a range of strengths within their team. Consciously and intentionally developing the strengths of those around you is one of the best ways to engage and leverage the skills of the people around you.
I’d love to hear from you on this topic! Click on the comments section below, and tell me:
What’s different for you (or your team) when you work from your strengths? What’s one thing you can do this week to work more from your strengths?
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Photo credit: Gratisography