Knowing Your Strengths Isn’t Enough – Apply You Must

Since coming to DAS, I have worked with over 800 individuals on identifying and leveraging their strengths. I consider this some of the most valuable work I’ve done in my 5-½ years in state service. Understanding and applying our strengths — what makes us thrive and flourish — has at least 10 scientifically proven benefits. These include being happier and more confident; having less stress and higher levels of self-esteem, energy, vitality and resilience; being more effective at developing and growing as individuals and more likely to achieve goals; and performing better and being more engaged at work.

Even with these obvious benefits, we don’t always respect our own strengths. Instead of allowing ourselves to do what we do best, we focus on our weaknesses, trying to fix them. We need to change that. Industrial and Organizational Psychologist, Marla Gottschalk, tells us, “We tend to treat strength alignment as if it were a luxury item — when in fact it functions like water. A fundamental. A basic. A necessity. Respecting our strengths is integral to building Core Stability.”

Bringing our strengths into conversations about work should become more frequent. When was the last time you recognized someone for a strength they have and encouraged them to use it in a new project or assignment? When have you offered, “It has come to my attention that my analytical strength could add value to this project; might I share some ideas of how I can apply it going forward?”

For those of you who have done the Gallup Strengthsfinder© assessment with your teams and used me as a facilitator, you may recall the activity I do with strengths-spotting cards. People identify a strength they appreciate or admire about someone, write it on the card, then sign and deliver it, thereby encouraging the person to use that strength more. I love this activity for so many reasons. Recognition and gratitude boost positive emotions, and nudging someone to use their strengths more helps that person and the whole team grow.

Help me champion a strengths-based mindset in the workplace. Discover your strengths and those of your team. Know and apply your strengths more and encourage others to incorporate their strengths in the workplace. Contact me for more information.

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