One of the easiest and most effective way of ensuring that you feel happy and productive at work is to make sure that you are able to deploy your strengths at work everyday. But what exactly are your strengths, you wonder? Well, in this lesson we will be talking all about strengths and how to leverage them at work.
- Focusing on strengths: Strengths, in simple terms, are the feelings, behaviours and thoughts that come naturally to you and at which you are good and can use them to your advantage. However, in the workplace, the focus is typically on addressing weaknesses. The world, and especially your manager, is obsessed with what you lack and where you need to improve, to the exclusion of ever considering what you are good at. However, research by Gallup and other organisations, has clearly shown that your most impactful growth happens in your areas of strengths and you cannot become like anyone else, but by focusing on your strengths you can become the best version of yourself. Because strengths are a natural, authentic expression of yourself, using your strengths and being in the strengths zone leads to more happiness and productivity.
- Identifying strengths informally: You can reflect on times when you were at your best, energised by what you were doing rather than feeling depleted,work that you look forward to doing again, work in which you exhibited rapid learning, work during which you lost track of time and work which was deeply satisfying. Reflecting on such work incidents will make you figure out what strengths you were using in those situations and which come naturally to you. You can also use the positive 360 degree method we discussed earlier to figure out your strengths.
- Identifying strengths more rigorously: You can use a formal strengths framework and tool like Gallup’s the Clifton StrengthsFinder2.0 assessment to figure out your top 5 or all 34 strengths. While using such a tool it’s important to be focussed on developing your top strengths and not get distracted by your lower strengths and getting obsessed with them as weaknesses to be worked upon. Another popular tool and framework is the VIA survey of character strengths.
- Leveraging strengths: Pick up one strength at a time and work on it. Try to use it in novel situations or in new ways in familiar situations. Try to use it more intentionally and consciously. Create a strength habit or ritual at work. Use the cue , routine , reward framework to create a healthy strengths usage habit. Build complementary partnerships with others where you lack a particular strength . Be creative in how you use your strengths.
Discovering and deploying strengths is a powerful new framework that increases both happiness at the workplace and also everyday productivity. In the last lesson we will look at how to lead others positively.