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How to Play to Your Strengths

(posted: April 21st, 2009)

Our personal strengths are expressed through the activities that we look forward to doing. They are the activities that leave us feeling fulfilled and empowered. They tend to energize us even as we get exhausted doing them.

Wouldn't it be great if we got to play to our strengths all of the time? Or how about even some of the time? What percent of the day do you get to use your strengths at work?

Our strengths create the platform from which we can all excel. What I see so often with my clients is their tiring efforts at trying to overcome their weaknesses rather that creating roles that play to people's strengths. I have to continually remind them that this is an ineffective way for driving sustainable personal growth and sustaining organizational health.

Marcus Buckingham suggests that in order to foster excellence in a person one must identify and harness an individual's unique strengths.

Unfortunately, most of us have never learned to recognize our own strengths. Sometimes we discount them as unimportant because they are second-nature and come easily to us. Other times, our strengths are the sea in which we swim, and we don't even know they are something of great worth. How often do we really stop and assess and acknowledge our strengths? How often do we celebrate them?

Gallup polled 1.7 million employees in 101 companies and amazingly enough found this:

Only 20% of employees working in organizations feel that their strengths are in play every day.

Most bizarre of all is the higher an individual climbs the career ladder the less likely he or she is to believe they are playing to their strengths.

Following are five steps to help you tap into the unrecognized and unexplored areas of your strength potential. Armed with a systematic process for gathering and analyzing data about your best self, you can improve your leadership. After you have mastered these steps and are playing to your own strengths, you will be able to engage your team to do the same for themselves.

  • Step One: Ask for Feedback
  • Step Two: Identify Your Own Strengths
  • Step Three: Use Performance Assessments
  • Step Four: Recognize Patterns
  • Step Five: Put Your Strengths to Work
Challenge Yourself
  • How do you feel about your ability to play to your strengths in your current role?
  • Do you feel pigeon-holed in a job that zaps your energy?
  • Or are you one who gets energized in your role at work?

Please comment and let me know how you are doing in this area!

This blog post was originally posted at www.linked2leadership.com.


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