It is no secret that the best employees have talents and strengths that no other employee can match. But these talents and strengths are overlooked, underutilized, or even confused with weaknesses. Our conversations aren't as effective as they could be if we don't know each other's strengths and our talent resources aren't being utilized as efficiently.
Uncovering our strengths helps us understand why people communicate the way they do and what information they need to make decisions based on their strengths. In doing so, we gain insight into how we can adjust our communication styles so that they are more effective. In addition, we gain insight into why we seem to be at odds with certain people while having better synergy with others.
Five Ways to Identify Strengths:
We all have strengths. Even if you don't realize it, you subconsciously act in specific ways because of them. A strength is something that comes naturally and gives the highest level of confidence in our outcomes. We all have strengths, but how can we identify them proactively?
1. Look Inward:
When it comes to looking internally, understanding what makes you unique, and identifying what you bring to the table, it cannot be easy. Move beyond the fundamental question, What are my strengths? What do my coworkers rely on me the most for? Where do I lose track of time? What is an accomplishment I'm proud of? Etc.
2. Ask Directly:
Instead of asking the above questions, ask directly: What do your colleagues mostly rely on you for? When do you lose track of time? What project are you working on that you're excited about? Etc.
3. Ask Others:
Getting a perspective on your coworkers' strengths can also be accomplished by asking those who work with them frequently. This could be a colleague sitting next to them or an employee from another department who uses them as a resource. What type of work do they tend to request? How do they stay energized? What tasks make them light up? Etc.
Observe how others use their strengths in action. It isn't always about what they are doing but how they are doing it. Two people may accomplish the same task differently. One person might gather data before deciding, while another may talk to colleagues and gather previous experience.
5. Take an Assessment or Inventory:
We can identify our strengths and weaknesses through a variety of assessments. Some of the most popular ones include CliftonStrengths (Gallup), Everything DiSC (Wiley), and Character Strengths (The VIA Institute on Character). If you introduce these inventories and assessments to your organization, everyone will have a common language and be more able to understand one another.
Real change can happen when we recognize people using their strengths and begin appreciating them. Employees will start looking forward to going to work, interacting more positively with others, and coming up with innovative solutions to complex problems.