One of my favorite things about working for Incept is the approach we take to strengths-based management. We believe very strongly in identifying the strengths of our employees and, when possible, placing them in a role where they get the greatest opportunity to use those strengths every day.
Using this method, we spend the greatest amount of time allowing them to do what they are good at and offering praises and development on their successes and far less time identifying their mistakes and trying to get them to improve on their weaknesses. Not only does this improve the working relationship between manager and direct report, but it also ensures that individuals get fulfillment out of their job.
The biggest key to strengths-based management is helping an individual identify their strengths and (inevitably) their weaknesses. How does one go about identifying their strengths? There are several approaches a person can take to analyzing their workplace strengths.
Firstly, there are many strengths-based assessments that can be found all over the internet. These tests will tell you about your workplace abilities, whether you are customer service-geared or more sales-minded, whether you prefer working with others or working alone. They can even tell you how you work with others and what type of environment plays best to your personality. Find a few assessments and give them a shot – you might just learn a little about yourself!
The second option is to do some self reflection. Spend some time thinking about the activities and responsibilities at work that give you the greatest joy. What do you feel most comfortable doing? Do you like when you are working with a group creating a new program? Perhaps you preferred the data entry project where you had a clear start and end point with solitary work. As you begin to identify the roles that gave you the most joy you also want to identify whether or not you had success in those projects.
If you really enjoyed data entry, but you had a 90% error rate, it is likely not your strength. Take each of the roles you enjoyed and begin analyzing the success or failure you saw with each. Once you find the activities in which you found joy AND success, you have likely found your workplace strengths.
Talk to Your Coworkers
Lastly, talking to your coworkers may help uncover some of your strengths. Although some individuals may be less comfortable pointing out weaknesses, ask them about the positive experiences. Maybe you ran a productive meeting with great results, or they learned a lot from you when working on a project; their input can give you a perspective that you haven’t heard before. Obtaining input from your coworkers can help you determine where your strengths helped others or helped the workplace overall.
Leverage Your Strengths
Once you have identified the strengths you possess you must begin to leverage them in your current role. If you have found that you excel at organization, try to take on tasks that emphasize that skill. For individuals who excel at the analytical side of things, begin using your analytical mind to be more proactive – identifying problems that aren’t there yet can be a huge win for your team.
As you begin leveraging your strengths you will not only gain greater satisfaction from your work, but it will be difficult for your manager not to notice your improvements. This doesn’t mean you should ignore your weaknesses; you simply highlight the things you are already good at while spending time improving upon the areas you struggle with.
In a job market that is moving towards the specialist versus the generalist, it is important to keep both strengths and weaknesses in mind as you work towards the career that fits what brings you the most joy and success. By highlighting where you excel, you can select the career that allows you an opportunity to exercise those strengths and experience the success we are all working towards!
Photo Credit: http://www.pbfingers.com/2013/01/10/one-word-mantras/