Greetings to all,
Over the last decade, coaching and leadership professionals
have been placing greater emphasis on developing personal
strengths. The goal is to help individuals work with what
they have and build on their natural talents.
| Do You Know Your Strengths?
Most of us have a poor sense of our talents and strengths, yet are
acutely aware of our weaknesses and flaws.
Throughout the education system and subsequent careers, there's
often been much more attention paid to how to improve and fix our
shortcomings rather than enhance our strengths.
"Most Americans do not know what their strengths are. When
you ask them, they look at you with a blank stare, or they respond
in terms of subject knowledge, which is the wrong answer."
Peter Drucker, management expert
Parents, teachers, and managers are well versed in spotting deficits.
In fact, most people — partners and spouses included — consider
it their duty to point out our weaknesses in the hope of helping
As a result, most of us have become experts in our weaknesses and
spend our lives either trying to fix these flaws or accept them
as permanent character defects.
Consequently, our strengths lie dormant and neglected. The research,
however, is clear: we grow and develop by focusing on our strengths,
rather than trying to correct faults.
Over the last decade, coaching and leadership professionals have
been placing greater emphasis on developing personal strengths.
The goal is to help individuals work with what they have and build
on their natural talents.
Large corporations like Wells Fargo, Intel, Best Buy, Toyota, and
Yahoo now require that employees take surveys measuring talents and
strengths. Their CEOs recognize that company success depends on leveraging
what already works instead of trying to fix what’s broken.
Gallup poll investigated this phenomenon by asking Americans,
French, British, Canadian, Japanese, and Chinese people of all ages
and backgrounds this question:
Which do you think will help you improve the most: knowing
your strengths or knowing your weaknesses?
The majority of people dont think that the secret to improvement
lies in a deep understanding of their strengths.
Interestingly, in every culture older people (55 and above) were
the least fixated on their weaknesses. Perhaps they've acquired
more self-acceptance and realize the futility of trying to be
what they are not.
- The most strengths-focused culture is the United States, but
still only a minority of people--41 percent--felt that knowing
their strengths would help them improve the most.
- The least strengths-focused cultures are Japan and China. Only
24 percent believe that the key to success lies in their strengths.
Why do so many people waste time trying to fix themselves and others?
Weaknesses are fascinating and strangely mesmerizing, like watching
characters in soap operas and on reality TV shows. The attraction
lies in the fact we deeply fear our weaknesses, our failures, and
even our authentic selves.
The human brain is wired to pay attention to fear and danger. However,
if you do not investigate your strengths you will miss out on becoming
who you are really meant to be.
Often a strength can be a weakness, and vice versa, a weakness
can be a strength. Here are some characteristics to watch for in
yourself and in the people you work with.
(Get it Right)
||Excludes feelings from decisions
||Goes too far; perfectionist
||Too rigid or demanding of self/others
(Get it Done)
||Has trouble operating with others
||Does not take time to consider other perspectives
||Domineering; too focused on doing it "my
||Tends to conform to wishes of others
||No time boundaries; things do not get done
||Not assertive or directive
||Talks too much
||Comes on too strong
| The Courage to Use
Most of us take our talents for granted. They are so embedded in
us, we aren't aware of them. We assume everyone else is just as
This way of thinking excludes developing and becoming stronger
and more brilliant. You cant develop what you dont recognize.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest
fear is that we are powerful beyond measure
We ask ourselves,
`Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually,
who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small
doesnt serve the world.
Marianne Williamson, spiritual teacher
The first step for self-improvement is to identify your strengths.
WorKuno.com offers a free online strengths test, and the book StrengthsFinder2.0
includes the Gallup assessment. Several excellent books can walk
you through the self-assessment process:
Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald
Clifton (Free Press, 2001)
StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath (Gallup Press, 2007)
Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Outstanding
Performance by Marcus Buckingham (Free Press, 2007)
Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams and Why People
Follow by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie (Gallup Press,
Once your five top strengths are identified, you can examine
how they manifest in your life. It may be easier to develop your strengths
by working with a professional coach. A coach can help you to identify
your talents and strengths and then work on expanding them, putting them
into deliberate practice with action steps.
Discovering your strengths is the path toward personal improvement and
success. When you pay attention to your deficits and try to overcome them,
you over-emphasize your weaknesses. You wind up living a second-rate version
of someone elses life rather than a world-class version of your
If you know of someone who needs
a coach to help them identify and focus on their strengths, please
let me know. I enjoy helping people find the right coach.
Thanks for all the referrals. I appreciate the opportunity to
helpful to lot of people. I really enjoy coaching and think I
am getting pretty good at it..
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