Find out what your strengths are
Will working with your strengths improve your performance?
Most of us have heard the saying “it’s like fitting a square peg into a round hole”. Additionally, we have either worked with people in roles that don’t match their strengths or perhaps experienced this ourselves. I recall a time years ago when I worked in the technical team of a large organisation. I stuck at it for 18 months and no matter how hard I tried I just didn’t gel with the tasks that were required of me. I ended up leaving (with my tail between my) legs and found another role which did suit my strengths.
If only I knew what I know now! Looking back I can see that I was spending 80% of my time and energy in a role trying to improve my weaknesses. It was exhausting and stressful and I felt totally inadequate. So often we see people in situations similar to mine, ie, trying to improve their weaknesses rather than optimising their strengths.
So, what to do?
Ask the question –what are my strengths? What am I good at? What do I enjoy doing and do well? Many people have no idea what their strengths are or even how to find out.
How to find out what your strengths are?
I like to use the VIA strengths survey with my clients. VIA provides 24-character strengths. Once you know these strengths it is all about how to apply them to the work you do. It may even mean looking for a new job or career. Some workplaces may even be able to do some job sculpting if there is scope for this. Check out VIA here: http://www.viacharacter.org/www/. Having a strengths based culture is something we will talk more about in the coming months.
How does understanding your strengths help you?
Evidenced based research demonstrates that by knowing and applying your strengths you will enhance your work performance, have more enjoyment as you are doing a job that works with your strengths, buffers you against problems and helps manage stress. Working with your strengths also improves your relationships with your colleagues, increases your work performance and overall enhances your health and wellbeing.
What does the research tell us?
- Hayes Group report that offices with engaged employees are 43% more productive
- Well matched strengths with job roles results in higher engagement and passion
- Two-thirds of engaged employees reported high levels of satisfaction and self-efficacy (ability to make a difference)
- Use of character strengths correlates with coping and buffers the effects of work-related stress on job satisfaction
Hayes Group, Kashdan (2014) · Mayerson (2015), Ruch, Garner, Platt and Hoffman (2016) · Gaille, B, 190 employee Motivation Statistics & Trends (2017)
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Fitness & Career Coaching