Written By: Vicki Haverson, Consultant & Head of Strengths-Based Development
Here are the top 3 reasons why understanding your strengths will help you make 2019 your best year yet.
You will understand your unique super hero powers
Can you imagine what it would feel like to discover that you have SUPERHERO powers? You do! And once discovered, these superhero powers can be applied to help you create your very best life.
Most of us take our strengths for granted because it’s the things that we do naturally, often without even thinking. We often assume and expect that everyone else can do the same things we can and it can be a huge realisation to discover this isn’t the case. Because according to Gallup, the chances of us having the same Top 10 strengths as someone else is 1 in 6 billion people!
Understanding your strengths and where you are most brilliant gives you the opportunity for the greatest success in your work and personal life. And when you have an opportunity to do what you do best everyday your engagement and productivity will increase together with your overall happiness and well-being.
It will help you to stop judging yourself and others
Whether we know it or not, we judge ourselves and other people based on our strengths. For example, as someone with the strength of Maximizer, I can become disappointed with myself and others when a project or initiative falls short of my definition of excellence. That definition may look very different for others who don’t share my Maximizer strength.
Working with teams I’ve seen a lot of communication challenges because when we have a strength we expect everyone else to have it too. For example, if you have the strength of Responsibility you expect everyone to be on time, get the job done and to get it right. When you’re managing people in a team who don’t see the world in this way and don't appear as committed as you, it’s frustrating. The person reporting to you, who doesn’t have the same Responsibility strength, might think you’re obsessed with your work and feel micromanaged.
When you understand how you both see the world based on your strengths it breaks down the judgment between you and helps you appreciate each other for what you bring, rather than being frustrated by it.
You will learn to better manage your weaknesses
When you understand your strengths you have an opportunity to learn about you at your best. It’s exactly the same for your weaknesses. If you understand what they are and learn to better manage them, through understanding your strengths, you have a superpower.
Even super heroes have an Achilles heel that can cause their super powers to show up as weaknesses both to themselves and others. For example, as an Activator you are fantastic at getting things started and creating energy and momentum within a team. When things don’t get done as quickly as you’d like you might become impatient, jumping in ahead of everyone else causing chaos and confusion. Recognizing what are triggers are help us to catch and interrupt them and change course before they cause us problems.
And then there are those activities that we dread doing, the things that zap of us of both our time and our energy. Those activities that sit at the bottom of our to do list that never seem to get done. After taking the Clifton Strengths assessment several years ago I discovered Strategic is an area of non-strength for me. I remember feeling hugely disappointed until I discovered that it doesn’t mean that I’m not able to think strategically, it’s just that I don’t naturally think, feel and behave in the same way that someone with the strength of Strategic does. My strength of Input prefers to gather information make sure something useful happens with it, so partnering with someone with Strategic can help this happen.
When you’re not afraid of your weaknesses it’s powerful and liberating. It’s the place where true learning and growth comes from. It allows you to be open to the amazing contributions of other people around you and their strengths that will complement and support you in your weaknesses. When you hide or are afraid of your weaknesses you push people away and isolate them because of a fear that you’re not good enough. Working with people who have strengths you don’t helps you open up to different perspectives.
So why not make 2019 the year you find some time to discover your strengths and turn them into superpowers.