Your strengths are a mixture of your talents, knowledge and skills.
Everyone has strengths, talents or what I like to call superpowers!
However, despite these impressive skill sets, a common thread that I encounter over and over again is that most leaders rarely take the time out to actually identify what their strengths are … or check in and see if their role is aligned with their strengths.
Frankly, this can be a major concern, especially when most organisations are looking at how to increase team engagement and how best to use people’s particular capabilities… and most individuals don’t even know what they are!
Quite simply, by identifying people’s strengths and matching them to their roles within an organisation, it’s guaranteed that they will perform better and have more fun doing what they’re doing. This increases productivity and engagement.
What’s your superpower?
So, let’s start with you. Did you know that being aware of your own strengths has an impact on your mental and emotional wellbeing and boosts your morale, self-esteem and confidence?
Some people find it a little bit confronting to focus on their talents. In much the same way as that old interview question “what are your strengths?” tends to make people uncomfortable. More often than not, the reason people feel uncomfortable is because the majority of us invest most of our time using our internal dialogue to criticise ourselves, so thinking in terms of what we’re good at, can take some getting used to.
However, by focusing on your strengths … you are allowing yourself to be the best version of you and being happy while doing so.
How do you know when you are using your strengths?
It’s easy … you feel
- in flow (lose sense of time)
- high performing
- rapid growth and learning.
Did you know that high achievers spend most of their time using their talents and strengths? They focus on doing the things that they are good at rather than trying to improve on the things that they struggle with.
Mastering your strengths
Now, let’s put pen to paper – use these questions to draw out what your strengths are.
How to identify your Strengths;
– What are your strengths?
– What do you do better than anyone else?
– What unique capabilities and resources do you possess?
– What do others perceive as your strengths?
– What unique personal resources can you access?
– Which of your achievements are you most proud of?
– What are the compliments that you most often receive?
…Hang on a minute… what do we do about our opportunities?
What are your opportunities? And … you are probably thinking why even bother to understand your opportunities, especially now that we’ve realised how great we are at so many other things?
Suffice to say that understanding and knowing your opportunities is just as important as understanding your strengths. Why? There is enough research that shows us that if we focus on the things that we do well, we excel and drive high performance, however, if we ignore our opportunities it does affect our leadership style. It impacts the level of collaboration we will receive from peers and team members.
It’s important to be aware of your opportunities
You might view yourself as an empowering leader who delegates things you’re not good at, giving your team members a chance to shine, however, by not looking at the whole picture you will lose your authenticity. And that’s what your workmates buy into, when they regard your leadership effectiveness.
Using our strengths doesn’t mean ignoring our opportunities. We need to understand both sides of the equation.
We need to look at our opportunities too, understand what they are, how they impact us and whether or not they are holding us back.
Should you improve your opportunities or focus on your strengths?
Delegating your opportunities makes a lot of sense … so you can focus on the things that you do best in supporting the business.
Focusing on your strengths and delegating your opportunities is a way to effectively optimise your time and utilise the talent around you – one of your opportunities may be a colleague’s greatest strength and it makes perfect sense to let the expert’s within their field do what they do best.
How to identify your opportunities
The key to this is to notice what you avoid.
– What tasks do you dislike or avoid because you don’t feel confident doing them?
– What do your competitors do better than you?
– What can you improve given the current situation?
– What do others perceive as your opportunities?
– What are your negative work habits?
– Where do you find the most resistance in the things you do?
– Do you have personality traits that hold you back in your field?
By writing down your opportunities, you can identify what they are, and furthermore, find someone whose strength is your opportunities. Now that’s true collaboration.
It makes sense to work with what you are good at, don’t you think? Using your strengths is about focusing on the things that come naturally to you, the things that drives passion, the things that you love.
Create a habit of focusing on your strengths for 21 days and watch how happier you become, how much more creative and engaged you become.
Don’t ever doubt your worth
Strengths are personal characteristics that allow you to perform at your personal best. Most leaders I work with may use only 10% of their strengths on a day-to-day basis … but imagine the potential of working with 80% of your strengths daily?
Research has found that leaders who worked with their strengths daily were happier with positive emotions, greater vitality, and self-esteem and less depressed.
When you delegate, you free your time to focus on your strengths and you also empower others by delegating your opportunities.
Delegating doesn’t have to mean having a ‘hands off’ approach though.
It’s important to stay connected and still be involved in projects to ensure that all is going well in the process. However, when you free yourself up by delegating things that take time and energy … leaving you feeling drained … then you are not being of service to yourself, or your team, or the business.
When you delegate, you create the opportunity to be a true leader – creating space, to take a step back, reflect, and get ready to continue moving forward.