3 tips to discover your strengths at work

Have you heard of the phrase, play to your strengths? How often do you find at work that the exact opposite happens? For example, in your appraisal, is the majority of the time spent on what you need to do to improve on the things that you’re not so good at? We’re not saying that you can avoid what you’re not so good at in work, but research shows that only 1 in 12 people get to apply their strengths at work on a daily basis. So lets discover your strengths at work.

First of all, let us clarify what a strength is. While you may feel that a strength is an action that you’re excel at, we believe that the criteria can be extended to include something that is also meaningful, energising and feels like your authentic self.

Do you know what your personal strengths are? Don’t worry if not, because in a recent piece of research by Gallup and Michelle McQuaid, only 50% of people can name their strengths.

A language for strengths

Not knowing what your strengths are is further compounded because until recently we didn’t have a language to define and describe strengths Fortunately now we do and you can see the list and each definition at  www.viacharacter.org/www/Character-Strengths/VIA-Classification#nav

It may be that looking at the strengths definitions that you’re able to spot your own strengths when at work straight away.

Here is an alphabetical list of the VIA character strengths:

·      Appreciation of beauty and excellence

·      Bravery

·      Creativity

·      Curiosity

·      Fairness

·      Forgiveness

·      Gratitude

·      Honesty

·      Hope

·      Humility

·      Humour

·      Judgment

·      Kindness

·      Leadership

·      Love

·      Love of learning

·      Perseverance

·      Perspective

·      Prudence

·      Self-regulation

·      Social intelligence

·      Spirituality

·      Teamwork

·      Zest

Discover what your strengths are

Now to the fun part – how to discover your strengths at work and what they are:

1.         Think about a time when you were at your best in at work

2.         Recall a time at work when you were in the zone and getting things done with ease

3.         What are you proud of achieving? Got something in mind? What were you doing? Which strengths did you utilise              that allowed you to succeed?

Your strengths are likely to be present in each of these scenarios. Recall our definition of a strength, e.g. it allows for excellent performance, is meaningful, is energising and feels like our authentic self. Take some time to read through the strengths definitions and see which ones you were using in each of the three scenarios.

If you’re struggling to answer any of those questions yourself, you can think about them in a different way. How about if a work colleague, past or present, was asked the same 3 questions, but to think of examples of where this person observed you being at your best, when you were in the zone and getting things done with ease and what they were proud of you for achieving.

There is another way to discover your strengths and that is to take the free character strengths at www.viacharacter.org

Look out for an upcoming blog about how you can start playing to your strengths and apply them on a daily basis at work.

To find out more about strengths, resilience and positive psychology, please join us on our UK university accredited Introduction to Positive Psychology course. Alternatively, if you would like us to come and run a course for your organisation, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your requirements in more detail.

Working with you to go from good to great.

Experience (is) the difference!