I had a fantastic conversation today with a friend in the HR field regarding personal strengths and weaknesses. I found this topic fascinating because of my own career path and the confidence in my abilities, which have on occasion made for abrupt changes in relationships or career paths.
I wonder today how many people are self-aware enough to truly pin point their strengths and weaknesses in their organization? Then I wonder what percentage of the population of managers choose to manage a persons strength’s and which choose to manage a persons weaknesses?
Donald Clifton and Paula Nelson once wrote a book called Soar With you Strengths , I find this to be one of my favorite management and personal growth books. I love that thought that we are all hard-wired by our creator to great at something. Managing people the last 7 years I have found that most people have lost touch with the gifts they have and have started to become what the world tells them they are.
As managers we feed that behavior many times because we have forgotten what we did to get to our seats. We struggle to understand how employees just don’t do what we always did, don’t they want to be successful? Don’t they find it easy to do?
If we could pause for a minute and start to study our sales teams or staff we might be surprised at the strengths we find around us. Then once we identify them, do we have the resolve to move people into position for their greatest level of success. In the book Soar with your Strengths one chapter sub head says the following: ” The Study of Strengths leads to productive conclusions; the study of weaknesses leads to ineffective conclusions.”
Is that not what all our goals are n management? Productive conclusions! We want to win, we want success on every corner, we want to move forward and upward. So lets stop and make it easy on ourselves.
identifying Strengths in self and staff:
- Listen for the desires of the heart. A persons desires or verbal messages about things they would like to do or would like to be are great indicators of strengths they may possess. (Caution: people do verbally communicate misleading desires in life, just because I want o play professional football doesn’t mean I understand the work it will take to transform my skills to that end)
- Watch for Satisfactions – “Those experiences where the emotional and psychic rewards are greatest” Soar with your strengths by Donald Clifton. Think about it in your own life which tasks do you do that bring about the most satisfaction and joy? Your staff has them also, have you ever asked them? (Caution: just because you enjoy making a lot of money and your like the prize, does not mean you gained joy from the work)
- Watch for Rapid Learning – Sure sign of a natural gift. I remember taking Accounting in college and just thinking every thing made sense. The work was boring but easy. I have natural abilities in math. I also remember the pain stacking task of playing the piano, needless to say I have no musical talent in my body. If you find yourself or an employee learning very quickly that is a sure sign of a personality strength and talent.
- Glimpses of Excellence: The hardest trait to figure out, because excellence is often masked by environment. Example, my son shows glimpses of excellence in several sports when in our local district, he could be the next great____, however take him to the inner city to compete and often we find discouragement because greatness or excellence is not as prevalent. As a manger of people your really need to study excellence to master the task of glimpsing it. Practice and set standards which can be measured.
- Continued performance of excellence. Did you or an employee show that same type of excellence over a period of time or occasions?
Enjoy your day and I hope that you can find your strengths today and find the success that comes with it.