I was going to spend this week’s writing time continuing to talk about first-time managers and how to avoid the first time manager syndrome. However over the last week I've been spending a lot of time getting reacquainted with strengths and the power they have when we know what ours are! Avoiding first-time manager syndrome requires you to know what your strengths are and how you do, or do not use them regularly. So I want to share with you today why strengths are important. I want to share with you the fact that strengths just don't show up of their own volition - you may be one of the lucky ones who intuitively practice using a talent and have developed a strength over time. Otherwise, strengths require awareness and practice and practice and practice. Sources of strengths come from our basic character, our talents, skills and interests. These are not nice to have loose concepts, they are real and you can see them everyday - they facilitate your outcomes!
Build Strengths or Fix Weaknesses?
Building strengths is the way to go when you're working on your personal development and development of your team. “When employees know and use their strengths, they are more engaged, have higher performance and are less likely to leave their company” (Adkins, 2015). Working on your weaknesses is a waste of time. You need to know they exist and you need to accommodate for them. Trying to fix them takes energy away from developing your strengths. “Trying to be well-rounded at the expense of being great is a waste of time and talent” (Matson and Robison, 2017).
Let me know what you do and see the aggregated results summary!
What are strengths?
Awareness of your strengths is critical to developing them. The starting blocks for developing real world strengths come from your basic character, talents (e.g. leadership talents), skills and interests. I focus on and work with my clients from two basic views, character and talent. An example follows of a set of character and talent strengths:
Signature Character Strengths (being)
Signature Talent Themes (doing)
How might knowing your profile help you be more effective?
I find, in talking with people, some of them my clients, many of us aren't really aware of our character and talent strengths. As a coach and someone dedicated to the positive development of others, I see fantastic benefit to understanding the source your strengths so that you can be aware of them, focus on them, talk about them and use them daily. If you lead people, there is further benefit to you (and the company) of understanding the sources of strength in your people and helping them use their strengths as much as possible in their daily work.
I invite you to start thinking and working from your character and talent strengths and notice the change in and around yourself!