Organizations that implement the strength finder assessment within their organizations all start off with a bang! A new awareness of self and others, a growth in interpersonal empathy and a change in how they work together.
The challenge is that these changes don’t last long because it stops with the initial information. No one understands what to do with the information, how to implement new tools to maximize everyone’s differences and perspectives, and how to talk about strengths without oversimplifying so much that we undermine those strengths.
Want to Excel? Know Your Strengths
Knowing your Strengths is your ticket to understanding Excellence – in yourself and in others.
Literally – Don Clifton started his research when researching excellence in performance.
So how do we really get this right?
We left off in the last article having covered breadth and depth of your strengths. These involved strength spotting in yourself and your team and identifying the characteristics that solidify when we put our strengths to use. There are two more aspects to really getting solid in your strengths and identifying your team’s strengths when you are the manager or leader. Breadth and Depth are the first two in a set of 4 elements that show people how to get well versed in identifying and using their strengths to elevate their performance. The next two are Calibration and Awareness.
The Key to Using Strengths Well: Calibration and Awareness
Calibration is involved when you make the choice to focus on your strengths and stop trying to be “well-rounded.” This is a BIG DEAL! Our societal norms tout strengthening your weaknesses, being well-rounded, be like the best – blah, blah, blah….. STOP!
You now get to be YOU – not just you – AMAZING YOU! You understanding your own EXCELLENCE. Because that’s where your genius lives. Your excellence isn’t named after your strengths. Your strengths are what dance together in their contributions to your unique excellence in what you do, who you are to others, and who you are to yourself.
Calibration is increasing your effectiveness in utilizing your strengths to enhance your performance. Think of a recent success. How did you use your strengths that have been identified? What was effective and what was not effective? Just by identifying which strengths were at work and the results will help you calibrate using them most effectively in the future. Some refer to this as thinking of each strength as a volume dial. When you need to use one strength in one setting more than another, you turn up the volume and reduce the others for this particular project or task. This is especially important when dealing with other people who need us to be successful and not cause friction or unnecessary roadblocks when communicating with others on the team or across departments.
So How Do You Calibrate?
This may be easier to do if you can partner with someone else on your team or someone that you have worked with on a project with. Discuss what they feel you do well or did well when you worked together. There are tools and conversation starters to help start this process. You may be able to easily start with context (“I’m exploring how my strengths show up at work”). Begin by asking for one thing they believe you’ve done well, and ask them for an example of what it looked like when they saw it. This is an easier conversation that doesn’t have to start formally and can be an easy one to continue to have with different people. Often you need to hear how other people see you to understand what strengths continually show up well – and which ones may need to be calibrated differently.
Breadth, Depth, and Calibration = Awareness… or does it?
Next week we’ll unpack how all four come together and what Awareness of your strengths really means. Come back next week to learn more!
Discover Your Talents with Strength Strategy!
The best managers get to know themselves and their team. You lead a team to success by understanding your team's capabilities, and by people in positions that play to their strengths while partnering them with people who will overcome their weaknesses. Discover your strengths, and the strengths or your team, with our Strength Strategy course!