In my last post I finished off by saying that we should strive to improve our performance by focusing on our strengths. There are reams of Harvard Business Review papers extolling the virtues of this approach, supported by the most celebrated names in psychology and neuroscience. Here, I give an incredibly brief seven point synopsis as to how and why you should pay attention to your strengths and how to begin to uncover your natural strengths.
Recall the last time you were completely energised and buzzing in your role. Take a moment and come back when you have it to mind. It’s pleasant to even think of it isn’t it? That’s because I’ll bet it involved you using one of your core strengths.
Your strengths are those work-related activities by which you are energised. They fuel your motivation in tasks and projects. You may be good at something yet still be drained when doing it. I’d call this a learned skill rather than a strength. A strength is a source of enjoyment for you.
When you enjoy doing something and you’re good at it, you are going to more engaged in the process. In my experience, it is nigh on impossible to reach and/or remain at the top without being really engaged in your work.
To give yourself the best chance to maintain high levels of performance in your role you need to align your strengths with your skills (learned expertise) and your professional objectives. Think about your current role. What are your objectives for 2015? What skills do you have which will help you achieve them? And what are your work-related strengths which will keep you committed and resilient to challenges as they arise through the year.
Of course, this is a tough exercise if you’re not crystal clear on what your strengths are. You’ll know some of them for sure, but will you confuse some with skills? Using a strengths profiling tool is hugely helpful here, and there is one which is streets ahead of the rest. Click here to find out more.
Self-awareness is the most critical aspect in anyone’s improvement plan. You can’t improve something if you’re not aware of it. Knowing how you can use, develop and stretch your strengths to change ineffective behaviours and develop productive habits is incredibly empowering. Weaknesses shouldn’t be ignored, they should simply be approached from a more resourceful perspective.
7. Working with your strengths
This encourages you to bring the best of you to the table. No one can tell you what is best for you, except you. You’ll empowered to design and implement the career plan that best fits you, not one that you feel you “should” follow or that someone else wants you to pursue. And because you’ll be engaged in it all the way, your commitment levels and results will soar. You’ll be confident in your approach, because it will be your own.
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