March 2, 2020
As part of my own professional development, I’m doing a program with an organisation. It’s really about how I can become better at what I do. I think it’s always important as someone who facilitates and talks about improvement in others, that I am constantly looking at improving myself. So, I spend a fair amount of time every year investing in my own education.
In this particular program, one of the things that we’ve had to do, is actually create a strengths inventory. Some of you may be familiar with the Gallup poll where they talk about the strengths inventory. Marcus Buckingham wrote about it and Don Clifton, who was known as the father of strengths psychology, came up with the whole concept that we should be focusing on what our strengths are and building on those rather than focusing on our weaknesses.
Traditionally, the focus for leaders was trying to fix the weaknesses of our team or even weaknesses of ourselves. But all the literature in the last few years has shown us that in fact, building on our weaknesses will never be as strong as someone for whom strength is that core component.
So, it’s really around working with strengths. That had me thinking, that as a global leader, one of the things that you want to do is actually recognise strengths in your team. And how do we actually do that?
Here are a couple of things I think you should be looking out for. Somebody who is enthusiastic about a particular topic or area. Someone who’s got energy. Someone who volunteers for it. Someone for whom maybe it’s not even part of their role actually puts their hand up to do it.
Also, someone who may be doing it outside of work. In other words, they’re doing it as a volunteer. Those are all areas of strengths for that individual. If you can actually recognise those, then it gives you the opportunity to build on those strengths.
My reflection point is firstly, do you identify your own strengths? And what do you do to build on those strengths of yours? In other words, how do you maximise your strengths? Secondly, look at your team. Are you maximising their strengths? Because I would put to you, that if you and your team are all working on areas of strengths, you are going to have a very dynamic, powerful and effective team.