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Are you playing to your strengths?

By Sarah Bennett, Strengths Coach and Talent Management Specialist

What does playing to your strengths even mean?

Ensure you know what you’re naturally good at – and do more of it. Practise it, learn more about it, develop it into strength.

Define what is a challenge for you – and do less of it. Manage it, delegate it, minimise it.

Think about the way you do things

Are you a big-picture person or do you love getting into the details?

Do you like to work with people on a task or would you rather complete your own piece of work separately?

Do you need to have a detailed plan or do you love to be flexible?

Do you like to get going quickly and make adjustments as you go or do you need to have clear goals for each stage?

Are you a natural networker or do you love to build long-term, deeper relationships?

Gallup’s Strengths Theory – focus on strengths, manage weaknesses 

Take sales for example. A sales person who is not a natural networker or cold caller but who is fantastic at building a relationship, can fail dismally when expected to generate their own leads.

However, if warm leads are provided for them, they can excel at winning the business, doing what they do best and not wasting time doing something they struggle with.

When we’re talking about sports or entertainment, this is a no-brainer. No one would expect Tiger Woods to be a world-class swimmer, and no one would expect Madonna to sing bass. In business though, we often have unrealistic expectations that people should be good at everything.

Extensive research indicates that people learn, change and improve most in those areas of the brain that already have the strongest synaptic connections. Each person’s greatest potential for development and growth is therefore in the areas of their greatest strengths, not their areas of weakness.

The best way to develop people and net the greatest return on investment in their growth is to identify their talents, then help them add the skills and knowledge that build strengths.

Think of talent as natural potential; strength as performance.

Talents come naturally, but strengths must be developed.

Talent + Knowledge + Skill = Strength

What are my strengths?

Many people struggle to understand their talents and strengths. There are several good tools to enable people to discover their strengths. My favourite is:

Clifton StrengthsFinder

  • an online personality assessment created by Gallup
  • a development tool
  • a measure and report of a person’s talent in each of 34 themes
  • a profile of an individual’s five ‘Signature Themes’
  • completed by nearly 8 million people globally

Using StrengthsFinder with a qualified Strengths Performance Coach, trained and certified by Gallup, helps people understand, explore and develop their talents.

Managers gain useful insights into how to manage and develop individuals more effectively to maximise their performance. By taking part in a workshop to gain more understanding of their colleagues’ talents, team members can find out how to work together better.

Leveraging talents and developing strengths can pay for itself many times over. When you are playing to your strengths, you will find new ways of increasing productivity and performance and reducing costs, which will result in increased revenue and profit.

Are you and your business as successful as you can be? If not, make absolutely sure you’re playing to your strengths.

To find out more contact me, Sarah Bennett, Strengths Coach and Talent Management Specialist


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