Friday, September 9, 2011

Are You Putting Your Strengths to Good Use?

In a book written by Marcus Buckingham entitled "Now Discover Your Strengths", he mentioned a research that showed only 20 out of 100 people work in jobs that fully utilize their strengths. If the same is true in the Philippines, it means that 80% of our workforce is not achieving their full potentials. One of those millions of people could be you or me! How do we make sure that we are on the better end of the statistics or better yet, how do we add up to the statistics of people who are doing work that fully utilize their strengths so there can be more than 20%?

Buckingham said that there are three major ingredients to one's strengths. The first one is talent. The test, strengths finder identified 36 types of talents.  They are: Achiever, Activator, Adaptability, Analytical, Arranger, Belief, Command, Communication, Competition, Connectedness, Consistency, Context, Deliberative, Developer,  Discipline, Fairness  / Empathy, Focus, Futuristic, Harmony, Ideation, Inclusiveness / Includer, Individualization, Input, Intellection, Learner, Maximizer, Positivity, Relator, Responsibility, Restorative, Self-Assurance, Significance, Strategic, Woo.  Go to this website to find out more about what they mean. You could demonstrate a variable number and combinations of any of those talents. You may also want to check out Richard Step's free version of strengths finder test here.

The second ingredient is your skills, your learned and demonstrated ability. The third, the amount of knowledge you possess in your chosen field. Two out of these 3 ingredients can be developed. Talent on the other hand is part of our nature. It also, to a great degree affects how we develop knowledge and skills. Let me use myself as an example here. The strengths finder test shows that communication is one of my talents. I also have a great deal of interest in it that's why I’m naturally drawn to information and venues that help develop my desire for self expression. I develop knowledge and skills in communication much more easily compared to another individual who is probably more intelligent but lacking in this particular talent. The point I’m making here is that if you expose yourself to information and work that utilize your talents, you will develop strengths and achieve your full potential much faster just like an athlete who found the right sport for him or herself.

I have devised a simple way of determining if you are utilizing your strengths at work by asking four questions. Here they are:
1. What would you consider as your strengths? (It would help to buy the book strengthsfinder 2.0 by Dr. Seligman to help you determine this.)
2. What are your weaknesses?
3. Which parts of your work do you like the most and energize you?
4. Which parts of your work leave you tired and depleted.  
Write your answers below.
My Strengths My Weaknesses
Part of my job that energizes me Part of my job that leaves me tired and depleted.

After answering these questions, you should be able to see patterns between your strengths and the part of your work that you really like to do. The same goes with your weakness and the part of your work that tires and depletes you. When you work using your strengths, you will find work to be energizing and engaging. When you don't, you spend much more energy doing the work that's why you get so stressed out. Imagine what you are left with to do if you can't find anything inspiring nor energizing about your work!
One of the hardest things to do is to turn weakness into strength. A friend went to take BS Math in college because she wanted to turn her math weakness into strength.  It turned her into an average math teacher who eventually moved on to teaching language because she finds math too taxing and stressful. Imagine how much better she would have been she had taken language in the first place.

The first step towards working with and developing your strengths is self awareness. I believe people owe it to themselves to go into a journey of self discovery. After realizing one's strengths, one should find opportunities to use it to the hilt. But one must not be contented with just utilizing one's skills. One must also engage in broadening one's knowledge and skills to further develop one's strengths. Sharpen the saw as Stephen Covey, author of the book 7 habits of highly effective people would have it. The last step is to develop a career plan along one's strength. This should help you live a more productive and meaningful professional life. Here

1 comment:

  1. As opposed to most workers, they think "What should I not do" instead of "what do i do best that can help this company?". You do not hid you weaknesses, but you gain confidence from your strength.



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