Q: ‘Why strengths?’ A: Because when we identify and apply our strengths, we’re energised, engaged, more effective – and more likely to do better work. When all team members are aware of their own and their team-mates strengths, they are more likely to apply these assets to the team’s performance.
Q: ‘Doesn’t that gloss over people’s weaknesses?’ A: No. Of course, we all have weaknesses, things we’re just not that good at; however, within the strengths literature they’re often called ‘non-strengths’. No sneering please: this is not a cop-out. It’s important to make the distinction between a strength that is far less significant within an individual’s profile and a significant strength that, when over-used, can be a bigger liability.
We can default to what we’re good at, even if it’s at the wrong time, in the wrong place and in the wrong situation. If you’ve ever had your latest great idea picked apart by a detail-orientated colleague, you’ll know what I mean. You’ll also know what I mean if you’re that detail-orientated person, wondering how on earth your colleague keeps coming up with ideas.
Every member of a team will have strengths that they can contribute to the objectives and output of the team. Those strengths will differ from one person to another. So, smart team leaders will ensure that not only are individuals aware of their own standout strengths, they’re also aware of their team-mates’ strengths too.
Ideally, all team members will complete a robust and reputable assessment to get an ‘inventory’ of their strengths. Shameless plug alert: my tool of choice for this is Strengthscope© – approved by the British Psychological Society and widely used in employers around the world. I use it in 1:1 work and with teams. Right away, team members can find that they’ve been taking some of their significant strengths for granted. They may also recognise situations when they’ve over-used a significant strength.
Here are 5 ways you can develop your team’s strengths to build awareness and achieve goals:
- Link the team’s strengths to its values. Most teams have values – things that really matter to them and need to be respected – for example, accountability. You can ask your team how they can apply their strengths to deliver on accountability.
- Build and sustain awareness by incorporating strengths into regular team meetings. Ask everyone to reflect on and share how they’ve used (and possibly over-used) their strengths today / this week / this month.
- Boost resilience by asking team members to share how they’ve overcome a challenge by applying their strengths.
- Encourage development and growth by coaching team members to stretch beyond their comfort zone. For example, it may be a stretch for someone to deliver a presentation. How can they apply their strengths to ensure they do a great job?
- Develop appreciation of different strengths by asking team members to ‘strength spot’ or identify how a colleague uses their strengths to contribute to the team’s performance.
Want to find out more about Strengthscope© and how it can boost performance? Please get in touch.
You may find this post useful: ‘Play to your strengths to promote your personal brand’
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