What are you really good at?
Everyone has relative strengths – talent, knowledge, or skills – that are useful in helping achieve goals. Our strengths are more than what we’re good at though. They energise us, help us be resilient under stress and enable us to flourish, especially when we’re living our values.
My friend Andrew loves anything to do with computers and it’s no surprise he works in IT. When my laptop plays up, his face seems to light up at the challenge of trouble shooting, where I feel like shooting the laptop. His strength definitely accommodates my weakness (stretch)!
Are you playing to your strengths as much as you’d like to?
If you think about your next level of incremental performance, how will you get there? Will you focus on leveraging your strengths, overcoming stretches, or working even harder to try and be good at everything?
If you spend your life trying to be good at everything, you will never be great at anything.
It’s no surprise we’re happier when we enjoy what we’re doing, and we tend to enjoy what comes naturally to us. Research shows that building on strengths to build performance is lot more effective than focusing on improving stretches. When we know and use our strengths, our performance, engagement, wellbeing, and results, flourish.
According to Gallup, people who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job¹.
Focusing on strengths doesn’t mean overplaying them, nor does it mean ignoring weaknesses either. Stretches negatively impacting our performance and brand need to be minimised. It’s all matter of balance. Ultimately, you won’t feel like you’re thriving if you’re only focused on what you’re not good at.
Realising our strengths is the smallest thing we can do to make the most difference – Alex Linley.
Knowing your strengths comes from self-awareness, feedback, or by taking a formal strengths assessment such as CliftonsStrengths.
How well do you know the strengths that sit across your team?
When we’re in task and results focus, it’s easier to notice someone’s misjudgments and mistakes. We can also take team strengths for granted and/or not acknowledge them, and ow they’re being utilised.
Jane led a team meeting where everyone openly shared feedback on each other’s strengths. The outcome was designated ‘strength champions’ in communication, problem solving and planning. These champions then mentored some high potential individuals across the wider teams who were matched to their respective area of strength. The mentoring also helped build more cohesion between the teams.
The future is collaborative not competitive
In thinking about what your team needs to achieve over the next 12 months or so:
- Do you know your strengths and those of others around you?
- What does your team need to excel at?
- Where do your strengths lie compared to what your team needs to excel at?
- Where do the strengths in your team lie compared to what your team need to excel at?
- How could you better leverage these strengths to help build bench strength across your team? Or do you need to change/add to your team to bring in the strengths you need?
- What complementary strengths sit within your team and how can you maximise the value of these? (For example, you might match an ideas person with someone who is great at organising information, to identify new market opportunities, and then bring in someone who is great at execution to help build the project plan). In summary, bringing in the right strengths at the right time can be an efficient way of developing a strengths-based team.
“Of all the things I have done, the most vital was coordinating the talents of those who work for me and pointing them at certain goals” – Walt Disney
How can you better leverage your strengths and those that sit across your team to fast track what will be achieved in 2021? I’d love to know.