“Most people think they know what they’re good at. They are usually wrong. More often, people know what they’re not good at — and even then more people are wrong than right.” — Peter F. Drucker
It’s true, isn’t it? Most people don’t know what their strengths are but, with a little encouragement, they can quickly find out. And you can help.
But first, why does it matter? We believe that you need to know what your strengths are; and you need to know the strengths of your colleagues too. Because:
- People who use their strengths every day are 6 times more engaged on the job (Gallup)
- Teams that focus on their strengths are 12.5% more productive (Gallup)
- In appraisals, when the discussion focuses around performance strengths, performance improves by an average of 36% (CLC)
- Equally, when the discussion focuses on weaknesses, performance worsens by 27% (CLC)
- Departments supporting colleagues to use their strengths have < 44% higher productivity (Harter)
This is why we do what we do: Using your strengths makes a difference and it begins with noticing them.
So, how do you identify strengths in yourself and others? You go strength spotting.
- Spot the irresistible. Notice when you’re doing activities that you simply can’t resist.
- Notice the easy pickings. Watch out for language like “I just…”, “it was easy” or “it came naturally”.
- Ask those you trust. Try, “When do you experience me at my best”? And listen. And let it land. After all, you asked people you trust. The ask yourself what strengths were in play at the time.
- Catch the Flow. What are you doing when you’re “in flow”? When time whizzes by and you barely notice, you’re so engaged?
- It never makes it to the to-do list. Because you’ve already done it.
- You don’t have to be taught it. But you learn about it because you can’t not.
- You notice the energy you experience when doing it: in your voice, in your eyes, in your body, in your choice of words, e.g. “I love…”
In most coaching sessions, training sessions or presentations nowadays I do some strength spotting:
- I will “strength spot” whatever I experience in them as individuals. I do it in the spirit of “here’s what I’m noticing / experiencing” rather than, “this is your strength” as ultimately it’s not my decision, only my feedback.
- I invite the participants to “strength spot” each other by identifying a strength in a colleague and then sticking a sticky note on them describing that strength. Almost all participants engage with it, enjoy it and learn something from it. I love it when people end up with a covering of yellow stickies. It’s lighthearted but it resonates and people always but always take those stickies with them when they leave…
Of course, many of you are already familiar with your strengths through completing a strengths instrument, like Strengthscope, an excellent tool that I use all the time with individuals and teams. If you’d like to complete a feedback session on yours, please contact us.
But that’s the beginning of the journey, not the end.
What strengths have you spotted in yourself and others today?