If you want success at work, you’ll need to focus on playing to your strengths at work. But how do you know what they are? Gallup’s new online StrengthsFinder assessment helps you identify which of 34 theme-based strengths you have and they fit into the four domains of leadership strength: execution, influence, relationship-building and strategic thinking.

You can also take advantage of similar free online tools.

Define Strengths

Strengths development requires you to understand several key terms:

A strength is your ability to consistently produce positive outcomes through near-perfect performance in a specific task. It is composed of:

  • Skills—your ability to perform a task’s fundamental steps. Skills do not naturally exist within us; they must be acquired through formal or informal training and practice.
  • Knowledge—what you know, such as your awareness of historical dates and your grasp of the rules of a game. Knowledge must be acquired through formal or informal education.
  • Talents—how you naturally think, feel and behave (i.e., the inner drive to compete, sensitivity to others’ needs, being outgoing at social gatherings). Talents are innate and unique to each of us.

Find Your Strengths

We display our strengths each day, and we don’t necessarily require a formal assessment to discover where we excel.

  • Our yearnings can reveal the presence of a talent, particularly when we recognize them early in life. A yearning can be described as an internal force—an almost magnetic attraction that leads you to a particular activity or environment time and again.
  • Rapid learning also signals Your brain may light up when you undertake a new challenge. You’ll feel a whole bank of switches flick to the “on” position and feel invigorated.
  • If you feel great satisfaction (psychological fulfillment) when meeting new challenges, you’ve likely identified a talent. Pay close attention to situations that bring you these en­ergizing feelings. If you can identify them, you’re well on your way to pinpointing some of your dominant talents.
  • If you’re so engrossed in an activity that you lose track of time (timelessness), you’re engaged at a deep, natural level—another indicator of talent.
  • Glimpses of excellence are flashes of outstanding performance observed by you or others. In these moments, the task at hand has tapped some of your greatest talents.

Talents are the foundation for developing your strengths. Use your StrengthsFinder report or another assessment tool to identify them. Hone them for a more fulfilling life.

In my work as a coach, I have heard some people complain about taking assessments and forget about them once they’ve done one. But identifying your strengths and figuring out how to use them in your daily work is one of the more important steps you can take to enjoy work.

So it’s important to understand what the tests say. Sometimes working with a coach can help. I’d love to hear from you. I can be reached here or on LinkedIn.