One of the questions we’re asked more than any other in our work on strengths is ‘How do I keep it going?’, meaning how can I make this approach my ‘go to’. Rather than it giving me this great big wake up call that I should use my strengths more and focus my development more in the direction of my strengths but then negativity bias comes crashing back in and my Strengthscope report goes back in a drawer and I carry on focusing on the things I don’t do well and trying to get a bit better at them.
Research tells us that people who use their strengths every day see so many positive outcomes: less stress, better relationships, greater job satisfaction, higher levels of well-being and improved problem-solving. So how can you be part of that group? Today I want to share my Top 5 tips for making strengths part of your daily practice and bringing them into your day to day work flow.
Make strengths part of your daily prep
As you prepare for your work day ahead, have in front of you your To Do list/calendar for the day.
Find the task or meeting which you are likely to find most energizing. Then, referring to your Strengthscope wheel, ask yourself which strength or strengths you’re most likely to be using and take a moment to consider how you’ll make them super-effective. For example, How can you make your Enthusiasm sing so that it convinces others that your idea is worth testing out? How can you get your Initiative seen so that you’re the one that’s picked to get involved in a new project?
Now find the task or meeting which you feel might be most challenging. Look at your Strengthscope wheel and decide which strength or strengths you’ll use to meet the challenge and exactly how you’ll use it. For example, you might have a difficult message to get across to a colleague. For example, you might choose to use your Empathy to understand their point of view, and your Results focus to make sure that they have clear actions resulting from your feedback.
That’s no 1. Make strengths a part of your daily habit of organising your day ahead.
Meeting strengths shares and strengths check outs
Now this assumes that everyone in a meeting knows their strengths, or has access to their Strengthscope wheel. At the start of the meeting, ask each colleague in the room which strength they will be bringing today and what outcome they are hoping to achieve with it.
As you go through the meeting, stay conscious of your strength by having it written down somewhere, e.g. notebook, post-it, etc.
At the end of the meeting, do a quick check out with each colleague saying to the group whether they used their strength and how effective they felt this was. And encourage your colleagues to give each other feedback on where they saw that happening and what outcome their saw as a result.
Getting strengths support from your team
Sometimes, you might feel that you just don’t have the strength. Which is when borrowing strengths from your colleagues can be a great option.
First of all, make sure that you have a matrix describing your colleagues’ strengths (and ideally their Top 3 strengths too – those that they are most energized by). The StrengthscopeTeam profile is a great way of collecting this information BTW.
When you have something challenging come up that you need support with, check the strengths matrix and find a colleague who has a strength that will help. Ask them exactly why and how you need their strength to support you. When you’ve borrowed someone’s strength and got a good result in the process, tell other people in the team about it, do a bit of a strengths shout out. That way, your colleague builds their reputation for supporting the team using a quality that they get great energy from. And you feel good for bigging them up too.
Manager strength check ins
It’s really important that your work ‘significant others’ have visibility of your strengths and knowledge about how you love to use them (I mean your boss and your colleagues mainly). So in check ins with your manager, have a conversation with them bring in some/all of the following areas to get strengths flowing and giving your manager visibility of the strengths that you feel can contribute greatest value to your role and to the team.
- Where you have had recent successes and what role your strengths played
- How you could you use your strengths more in your role, and in the team. What ideas might your manager have for this?
- What has been more challenging for you recently. Whether any risks showed up for you (drainers or strengths in overdrive). What you might consider doing differently next time (using different strengths or drawing on your colleagues’ strengths)
- Where might there be more opportunity to stretch your strengths in current or upcoming projects?
When working on a new project or with a colleague or colleagues you don’t know so well, share your Strengthscope wheels and ask:
- How each colleague can use their strengths to get the project delivered in the most energizing way.
- Which strength combinations might be really helpful to overcome challenges, e.g. your Relationship building (to tee up stakeholder meetings) and their Enthusiasm (to communicate the project requirements)
- Which of your shared strengths might be superpowers to deliver the project. And how can you avoid them going into overdrive?
Conclusion – 5 practical ideas to start building strengths practice into your day
So in answer to the ‘what next’ question after you’ve seen your Strengthscope® report, here’s your answer. Try out these 5 practical ways of bringing strengths into your work day. Starting with the one that you think will give you the most energy. Enjoy! Till next time, stay strong, stay energised.