Are You Strong at Noticing?

Blog 2023-01-31 photo

In last week’s blog, we explored overusing strengths and how they can become weaknesses. Here, we explore strengths that come from talents. 

Talents are special natural abilities or aptitudes. Talents in action—things we do well, regularly, and/or with low effort—can become strengths when exercised like a muscle. These strengths might seem easy to ourselves, and yet, this is where we can have blind spots. While we might miss seeing our own talents as strengths, others often don’t. In fact, our strengths to others can be blaringly obvious. 

Think of the times you have observed someone doing something so brilliantly, so easily, or with such great agility. If you acknowledged their strength to them, chances are they may have brushed it off … “Oh, that was nothing” or “It was no big deal”. But to you—especially if it’s not something you do well—it is impressive. 

Now, while you might feel motivated to identify your own hidden talents and where they may show up as strengths, there’s something far juicer and inspiring than that. Best known for his studies on strength-based leadership, Tom Rath said, “One’s single greatest strength may be uncovering the hidden talents of another person.” 

With that in mind, you could spend greater energy intentionally noticing the (potentially hidden) talents of others. Why do that? Because while self-development is important, leadership is about taking responsibility in your world and—while that starts with you—it doesn’t end with you. Leadership done well involves being in creative relationship with others…and noticing. 

You are in a unique position to notice great things in the people around you. I’m not saying this because of any job you hold. Leadership can happen from wherever you are. 

This Week: When you interact with others, pay attention to their talents in action. In addition to the obvious—what’s said or visually evident—heighten your awareness and sense of what they do naturally well. (Hint: A person’s energy level can be an indicator, as things we’re good at don’t tend to exhaust us as easily.) And then tell them what you noticed. If they attempt to dismiss their strength, support them by challenging them to own it. 

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  1. Doug Brady on January 31, 2023 at 10:05 am

    Terrific Jen!
    What a kinder world this would be if we all acknowledged others strengths.
    Everyone likes to be recognized.


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