How do you feel when you are doing something you’re good at? …..energised, engaged, confident, invigorated, optimistic, time passes quickly….. Using your strengths is what we’re doing when we are performing at our best, when we’re being authentic and we’re totally focused on what we are doing.
When we use our strengths we feel good, this impacts our “self talk”, we tell ourselves we’re doing well, which reinforces our self image and builds confidence and courage, which then controls our performance and before you know it we’re feeling energized, engaged and optimistic and the cycle continues………..
A great piece of research by the Corporate Leadership Council (2002) shows us that if we focus on our weaknesses our performance drops by 26.8%, whereas if we focus on strengths our performance improves by 36.4%. It’s a no brainer! We’re not saying you should ignore your weaknesses, what we are saying is that you should leverage your strengths and manage your weaknesses. Managing your weaknesses might include: working closely with someone who has strengths where you have weaknesses, or scoping your role and your teams roles slightly differently to allow people to spend more time using their strengths, or perhaps you could use one of your strengths to achieve the outcome required (rather than attempting to use a weakness). Of course if the weakness is detrimental to your success then yes, there might be an opportunity to spend some time developing it to a level that prevents it from having a negative impact.
Frequently we see organisational systems, practices and culture that are focused on “exposing” or assessing people’s weaknesses, then we see all kinds of effort go in to developing these weaknesses in the hope that we can develop this mythical leadership creature that fits the profile of a perfect leader…….guess what? – It doesn’t exist. Rather than de-motivating and disengaging people as they spend time on their weaknesses, why don’t we spend more time finding ways to enable us to shine and use our strengths.
Unsure of what your strengths are? Think about when you are at your best, what are you saying, doing, thinking, feeling, this is a good place to start. Of course there are also several tools to help you articulate your strengths, the one we’ll be using on the LEAP Programme in Bali on July 26-31 is Realise2. Email me to find out more email@example.com
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” Albert Einstein