Why Focusing on Strengths is a Key to Success
In the early stages of my corporate career, I recall being told in performance appraisals to focus on my weaknesses and improve them if I wanted to get ahead.
Every time I tried to combat a weakness, I felt a knot in my stomach. The experience was never fun, and I felt disheartened when I didn’t feel like I was making progress. I worried about how I was ever going to improve.
Later in life, I learnt some valuable lessons about being great. We are not born great at everything. It’s not possible to become great at everything. However, we are born with an abundance of our own individual strengths, which help define our greatness.
Sadly, sometimes we don’t even realise or understand our strengths because we are too caught up trying to fix our weaknesses. A focus on strengths is an investment in you to become an even better business leader or a more motivated employee. A focus on strengths is an investment in your overall happiness.
There is evidence to suggest that when you apply your strengths, you are more motivated to achieve, more engaged in what you are doing, and more productive. Hence you end up with better outcomes. Focusing on strengths also brings enjoyment, fulfilment, and an overall positive feeling.
Analysis by Gallup indicates when you use your strengths every day you are three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life, six times more likely to be engaged at work, and 8% more productive.1
It can take some time to identify, understand and appreciate the strengths you have and how you can leverage them. There are assessment tools that can assist in pinpointing your top strengths. These tools can provide valuable insight into the suggested job types that would suit your suite of strengths, how you can maximise your potential, and your workplace preferences such as leadership/team player style.
While not as reliable and in depth, there is a quick way to identify something that is a strength. Think of different tasks you complete during the day. You are more likely to be applying your strengths if you lose track of time and easily slip into a ‘zone’. You find the task easier to do compared to others and you rarely find an excuse to procrastinate. Conversely, when you find it hard to complete a task, you can’t concentrate, and are easily distracted, it’s more likely that it is something you aren’t as good at and hence is probably a weakness.
Take some time to invest in you to self-reflect and assess your strengths. Your success depends on it!
Note 1 – Flade, P 2015, Employees Who Use Their Strengths Outperform Those Who Don’t, Gallup, viewed 26 July 2018, https://news.gallup.com/businessjournal/186044/employees-strengths-outperform-don.aspx