Have you ever wondered why there are moments when you have a sudden burst of energy and things start flowing? Your work proceeds smoothly, things are getting done, and you feel as if everything is in alignment.
This is what Marcus Buckingham, leading expert and authority on strengths-based management, calls working with your strengths.
Most people think that a strength is something in which we excel; by contrast, a weakness is something in which we do not. This kind of thinking focuses on performance.
Buckingham, however, provides an alternative definition for strength – it is something that brings you joy and energy. A weakness, in contrast, is something that one may or may not do well but it ultimately drains your energy. In other words, one could be very competent at balancing a budget, but find the activity draining and mundane.
Buckingham goes on to state how important it is for leaders to claim their strengths to enhance their daily performance. To promote strengths, Buckingham refers to the word SIGN.
Success: you feel a sense of progress and accomplishment after completing the activity. There are feelings of flow and positive energy;
Instinct: you always look forward to doing the activity. The activity feels like a tonic, a meditative process;
Growth: you feel a burst of energy as you engage in the activity. You feel your mind expanding, your perspective changing. Two hours of work only seems like five minutes; and,
Needs: upon completing the activity, you feel fulfilled (Buckingham, 2013).
Weaknesses, such as public speaking or completing an analysis, are impossible to avoid them; however, there are some strategies Buckingham suggests to make the process easier. To redirect weaknesses, he refers to the word STOP.
Stop: see if anyone else can do the activity – delegate if possible;
Team-up: with someone else to do the activity;
Offer Up: a strength intensely so that it becomes the primary focus of your work; you are, in effect, creating your niche. In return, less time is spent on your weaknesses; and
Perceive: change the lens with which you approach the undesired activity. Sometimes, reframing is all your need to move on (Buckingham, 2013).
Hopefully, this post has helped shed some light on strengths and weaknesses. My wish is that we all change our traditional views on this issue in order to work on what makes us feel happy and energized.
A) Take an inventory of your strengths. List 5 activities that bring you joy and energy. It could be listening to music, exercising, or reading. There are no limits.
B) Take an inventory of your weaknesses. List 5 activities that drain or bring you down. Once again, there are no limits.
C) Find a way to maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. Use the words SIGN and STOP to help.