I’ve been conducting several Strength Workshops recently. It seems to have many leaders and organizations are coming to see the value of focusing on their team member’s gifts.
My journey into the world of strengths began with a fortuitous encounter at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. While pursuing my doctorate, I crossed paths with Don Clifton, a professor in the Psychology Department. Don posed a simple but profound question: What if we shifted our focus from looking at what is wrong with people (abnormal psychology) to embracing and amplifying their strengths (positive psychology.)
This simple yet revolutionary idea laid the groundwork for the Clifton StrengthsFinder (CSF) assessment, the most widely used survey tool in business and education. I incorporated this notion into my work, and it has been a cornerstone of my practice with organizations, leaders, and teams ever since.
Why Choose Strengths:
- Behaviors, not Personality: Personality assessments like the Myers-Briggs and DISC, tend to pigeonhole individuals based on temperament and character. The strengths approach looks at natural skills and capabilities. Strengths are behaviors that can be enhanced and modified over time. Focusing on strengths means we are not locked into a fixed personality label. We all have the power to evolve and change.
- Complimentary Skills: A strengths approach allows people to focus on their best work, particularly in relationship with others. Consider a team of leaders where some people excel in strategic thinking while others thrive on implementation. By recognizing and working with their strengths, the team can intentionally allocate roles, significantly boosting efficiency, enjoyment, and performance.
- Overusing a Strength: We all have our go-to strengths we rely on consistently. Sometimes, this overreliance becomes a double-edged sword. Understanding strengths helps us identify when we might be overusing a particular muscle to develop others, leading to a more balanced skill set.
My strength profile is pictured above. It’s not surprising to see empathy and achiever listed (after all, I am a psychologist with too many degrees). What I find inspiring is that I have this hunger for learning and an ability to look to the future rather than dwell in the past.
How about you? Do you know your strengths, use them effectively and help to drive success with your team and organization?
Either way, let’s talk about how you can build a strengths-based organization!
© Richard Citrin 2023