Would you prefer to spend your time doing something you enjoy or something that drains your energy and makes you wonder if it’s time to find another job?
The research from Gallup suggests that when we leverage our strengths we are more engaged, productive and profitable. Specifically, people who have the opportunity to use their strengths enjoy the following benefits:
6x more likely to be engaged on the job
7.8% greater productivity
12.5% more productive as a team
8.9% higher profitability for teams
3x as likely to have an excellent quality of life
Strengths are our ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance. For example, the customer service rep who not only is adept at resolving issues with dissatisfied customers but also has the ability to convert these customers to lifelong ones. Ideally, when you use your strengths you should have more energy rather than feel drained. The first step is to identify our talents and then we can develop them into strengths by gaining skills, practicing and acquiring knowledge. Talents are defined as our innate ability and how we naturally think, feel and behave. You can’t teach someone a talent such as being competitive or athletic. But we can leverage these natural talents into strengths that engage the person and also drive performance for the company.
As an Executive Coach and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, I have the privilege of working with high level teams to help them identify and develop talents into strengths to drive performance, engagement and profitability. It requires a shift in your mindset to focus on finding ways to apply your strengths to your goals and partner when possible to manage around gaps or weaknesses. The idea is that you actually don’t need to be the best at everything but rather identify what you’re great at and do more of it.
When I work with managers, I encourage them to look at their team in a different way and instead of thinking about what’s wrong with each person on the team or the roles the manager needs filled, identify what the top strengths are for each person and how they can be applied most effectively. For the person who has a natural talent of ideation and coming up with new ideas for products or processes, but is not great at taking an idea and getting it started — that’s ok. You want that person generating ideas all day long and you want to partner them with an activator or someone who can take the idea and make it a reality.
The first step to building a strengths based organization is to identify talent and have individuals, managers and teams gain a greater awareness of how to use their talents and strengths to lead individual development and performance optimization.
You have the greatest chance of being engaged and successful in your role when you use your strengths on a daily basis and embed them throughout the organization including performance reviews, feedback and team formation. As markets continue to get more competitive, companies need to develop a precious resource called human capital. We do that by identifying talent in each person and developing it. Every company and manager can strive to achieve this goal.
* For people interested in learning more about strengths, you can take the Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment.
Alissa Finerman is an Executive Coach and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, speaker and author of Living in YOUR Top 1%. She works with managers, C-suite executives and teams to leverage strengths, shift beliefs and achieve meaningful goals. Alissa has an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. She has worked with Ross Stores, BNP Paribas, Neutrogena, Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Milken Institute, LA Business Journal, Prostate Cancer Foundation, and NBC Universal. To learn more about coaching with Alissa, please visit her website and follow her on Facebook