What Strength Cards Are You Holding?

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A dear friend of mine never ceases to amaze me. She’s a business leader who has solved every single problem that has ever been put in front of her, no matter the complexity. She jumps into the deep end of issues that predecessors didn’t dare to go – or even knew existed. She engages others in supporting her team’s efforts and ensures everyone gets the credit due. She is kind, and dedicated to doing what’s right for the company, even if that means she sometimes draws the short straw. And she just makes it look easy.

Out of curiosity, I asked her what strengths she believed she had. She cited three. I then rattled off more than 10 … solving problems; strategic thinking; risk taking; energizing and inspiring teams; building trusting relationships; recognizing contributions and acknowledging successes; kindness; work ethic; loyalty; and humility … just to name a few.

Strengths can run the gamut from tactical execution and productivity to flexibility and positivity. And the funny thing about strengths is that for the person who has the strength, s/he doesn’t often see it … simply, because it has become easy. And, if it’s easy, is that really a strength? YES!! Not only building a strength, but also increasing awareness of existing strengths has a ripple effect on those around you – it’s likely that you’ll exercise your additional strengths to everyone’s advantage.

According to Gallup’s CliftonStrengths, after investing enough in a talent, it becomes a strength. That means, it takes work and practice to develop a talent into a strength, like building a muscle. As the saying goes, “the juice is worth the squeeze”, especially in business. Gallup studies have found that people who learn to use their strengths every day have 7.8% greater productivity and teams who focus on strengths every day are 12.5% more productive. As you develop and apply your strengths/talents, you will increase your achievements and experience more frequent successes.

Building awareness about strengths is not a new concept. Another organization that started about 20 years ago, Values in Action(VIA), focuses solely on character strengths. VIA believes that “when you discover your greatest strengths, you learn to use them to handle stress and life challenges, you become happier, and develop relationships with those who matter most to you.”

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

This Week: To see how in tune you are with your leadership strengths, write down each of your talents; then ask yourself, “Have I invested enough to claim it as a strength?” If the answer is yes, give yourself a gold star; if the answer is no, jot down some ways you can start investing … practice? reading? asking for help? And, speaking of asking, check-in with those who know you best – what talents and strengths do they see? You may be surprised that their list is longer than yours! Want to see what else shows up? Check out the hotlinks above and take the assessments.

In Next Week’s Post:  We explore healthy debate…again.  It’s a lively topic that never gets old.

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