… The Strength of self knowledge
We’re all unique and that’s great.But it is difficult to benefit from that fact unless you really get to know yourself. We all have talents that enable us to do something better than others, but do we really understand what they are and how to put them to best use? One interesting way to start developing our understanding is to prioritise “talents” by defining our “strengths”.
Recently I read a book “Now, discover your strengths” where the authors, Markus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton create a rigorous and compressive argument about why we all need to discover our strengths. Apart from talking about the core value of our strengths, in directing our natural purpose and “flow”, and quoting widely recognized research (trust me – there are hundreds of studies on self-cognition and self-development and not all of them are practical or useful), they’ve also designed a way for us to instantly discover our top five talents via a simple online questionnaire in association with the highly reputable Gallup Organization.
Methodology and Practice
The authors studied over two million people globally who have excelled in their careers. This helped them identify 34 broad themes under which to explore a range of associated strengths. Every theme shows different strengths, but no value judgement or weighting is assigned. (Be honest to yourself, there’s not wrong answer).
By knowing our strengths we can not only make critical decisions about our future direction, but also enhance our employability in relation to current market conditions and impacts on demand.
It seems intuitive that your performance will be better if you’re doing what you naturally do well. But some of it is counterintuitive: No amount of training will help you excel in your areas of weakness. You can’t do anything you want to do – or be anything you want to be-because you’re just not going to be good at everything. But if you work with your talents, you can be extraordinary, says Tom Rath, the author of “Strengths Finder 2.0”.
Knowing our strength could benefit us…
- As an individual we are able to thoroughly assess our value and suitability in relation to opportunities in the environment we operate in, helping us identify those hard to find roles where we can truly flourish.
- As a manager we are able to be mindful of our own managing style in relation to the individuals we work with and to cultivate better the talents in our team.
- As a business, we are able to be thought leaders anticipating change and realising the potential of our collective strengths and talents.
I found their test really interesting and a useful exercise in reflection. I’ve always felt my main strengths were creativity, responsibility and creating harmony. However, the exercise showed that I am mainly strong as…
“Positivity” – People strong in the Positivity theme have an enthusiasm that is contagious. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do.
“Activator” – People strong in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They are often impatient.
“Maximizer” – People strong in the Maximizer theme focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. They seek to transform something strong into something superb.
“Learner”- People strong in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.
“Intellection” – People strong in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.
For short definitions of all 34 strengths visit http://www.strengthstest.com/theme_summary.php
The results made me take a new look at my own situation and my past. Maybe some of the stresses and strains of life so far may have been caused by a mismatch of who I think I am and who I really am? People tend to feel more comfortable with things we’ve already understood and prefer to believe those we don’t know are what we are not good at. Is that true?
Try the test yourself or simply start to think about your top strengths. And let me know about your story. If you aren’t ready to commit to buying the book so you can access the full functionality of the website, you can try out this free “approximation” before deciding…
Have a great day and see you soon,