How do you make sure you’re using your strengths at work? In the work I do coaching people at work, I find that most of us take our talents for granted. They are so embedded in us, we aren’t aware of them. We assume everyone else is just as capable.
This way of thinking excludes developing and becoming stronger and more brilliant. You can’t develop what you don’t recognize.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…We ask ourselves, `Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.” —Marianne Williamson, spiritual teacher
The first step for self-improvement is to identify your strengths. WorKuno.com offers a free online strengths test, and the book StrengthsFinder2.0 includes the Gallup assessment. Several excellent books can walk you through the self-assessment process:
- Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton (Free Press, 2001)
- StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath (Gallup Press, 2007)
- Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Outstanding Performance by Marcus Buckingham (Free Press, 2007)
- Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams and Why People Follow, by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie (Gallup Press, 2013)
Once your five top strengths are identified, you can examine how they manifest in your life. It may be easier to develop your strengths by working with a professional coach. A coach can help you to identify your talents and strengths and then work on expanding them, putting them into deliberate practice with action steps.
Discovering your strengths at work is the path toward personal improvement and success. When you pay attention to your deficits and try to overcome them, you over-emphasize your weaknesses. You wind up living a second-rate version of someone else’s life rather than a world-class version of your own.
What’s it like where you work? Do you have a manager who regularly recognizes and coaches you on your strengths? Are you working to expand and develop the areas where you excel?