Do you have an opportunity to use your strengths every day?
Chances are, you don’t. And it’s sad, because we all have innate talents that go untapped or we aren’t given the opportunity to grow and nuture our talents to be able to contribute all that we could. All too often, we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths.
To help people uncover their talents, Gallup introduced an online assessment, called “StrengthsFinder”, in 2001, in a book called Now, Discover Your Strengths. In Gallup’s second version, “StrengthsFinder 2.0”, Gallup debuts an improved version, with a book by Tom Rath that includes 34 themes and ideas for action. The book includes an access code to partake in the free assessment to discover your top 5 talents. To receive the full assessment, including all 34 themes, it’s $87 for the results. The book is a wonderful reference to use for years to come.
The author of StrengthsFinder 2.0, Tom Rath, started working with Donald O. Clifton in 1998, the late Father of Strengths Psychology, to start a global conversation about what’s right with people. They found that “people have several times more potential for growth when they invest energy in developing their strengths instead of correcting their deficiencies.” Their studies indicate that “people who have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general.”
That is significant. It is amazing that more managers don’t focus on developing their employees strengths, rather than improving on their weaknesses.The book goes on to say “There appears to be an epidemic of active disengagement we see in the workplaces every day could be a curable disease…if we can help the people around us develop their strengths. One big problem is that most people are either unaware of, or unable to describe, their own strengths…or the strengths of the people around them.”
I recently used this book with a client and it really helped shed some light on the situation. The book illuminated this client’s strengths in a way that we could discuss how she best fits into her work environment, by focusing on her strengths and the strengths of her co-workers. Then we targeted one of her problem areas which is how to better communicate her value to her peers. By putting names to her talents, and taking action on further developing them (using some of the suggestions in the book), we devised a plan for how she could best communicate her strengths, and therefore her value, to her manager and her peers. How will we measure the idea that she is better able to communicate her strengths to her co-workers?
We will see over time, if there is improvement in how good she feels about the work she is doing, and if there is recognition from her peers and manager that she is performing a job well done.
I also took this assessment and found it very helpful in how I can best serve my coaching clients with the talents that I possess. I was surprised by which talents showed up as my top 5.
My top 5 Strengths, according to the StrengthsFinder 2.0 Test are:
For each strength, the book outlines a summary of your strength, what this person sounds like, ideas for action, and how to best work with others who have this talent.
For example, for my “Arranger” talent, it says that “I am a conductor. When faced with a complex situation involving many factors, I enjoy managing all of the variables, aligning and realigning them until I am sure I have arranged them in the most productive configuration possible. In my mind there is nothing special about what I am doing. I am simply trying to figure out the best way to get things done…From the mundane to the complex, I am always looking for the perfect configuration. I am at my best in dynamic situations.”
This description really hit home for me and made me feel like this was a strength and not a hinderance. I had known this about myself, but never it given it a name or couldn’t really describe it to people. I also didn’t have an idea of how to leverage this talent to achieve my goals. The book shed some light on how I could better use this talent to further my cause. For my “Arranger” talent, the book suggests that I can:
- Learn the goals of my coworkers and friends. Let them know that I am aware of their goals, and then help set them up for success (this goes along really nicely with my coaching profession).
- If a team needs to be created, make sure I am involved. I recognize talents, skills, and knowledge, and that awareness will help me get the right people in the right spots (this helps me in my leadership roles).
- I intuitively sense how very different people can work together. I will take a close look at groups with divergent personalities and opinions, as they may have the greatest need for my Arranger talents (this helps me in the different groups I am involved with and how I can best them).
- This person is excited by complex, multifaceted assignments. She will thrive in situations in which she has many things going on at the same time.
- When you are launching a project, ask this person for help in positioning the members of the project team. She is good at figuring out how each person’s strengths might add greatest value to the team.
- This person can be resourceful. Feel confident that if something is not working, she will enjoy figuring out other ways of doing things.
What are your top five strengths? How can you use these strengths to leverage yourself in your career, in your home life, in in your relationships? How can they best serve you?
I recommend getting a copy of this book and taking the assessment. It might illuminate some areas of your life that you can pay closer attention to and foster so that you can experience more joy and satisfaction in the work that you do.
If you want help discovering your strengths and how to best leverage them in your career, home life, and relationships, message me and we can set up an appointment.
For, as Tom Rath says, “Every human being has talents that are just waiting to be uncovered.”
Wishing you all Happy Holidays,
p.s. Comment below if you have read this book and how it has helped you in your life. Would love to hear from you and your experiences.