How can I as a leader be kinder to myself, and allow my strengths to shine through?
There’s a part of me that seems hardwired to focus on deficits rather than strengths in myself, despite being able to see strengths in others. Having worked in the social service industry for the last 25 years I have grown accustomed to helping others see the best in themselves, and to understand how they can move towards their potentials. How can I as a leader be kinder to myself, and allow my strengths to shine through?
I took the Via Character Strengths Profile survey and working through the survey results that I received was very helpful for me to regain a sense of who I am and what I want to do with my working life. I think that focusing on strengths can bring some benefits to leaders and can help the people we work with to work towards their potentials. I think that all leaders can help themselves better understand their strengths, and to explore what the strengths of their teams and organisations are as well. In doing so I think that we can create value and meaning in work, for ourselves and for others.
The Via Character Profile survey took about 15 minutes to complete and is free. I received an email with the short Strengths Profile, which ranked my 24 strengths in rank order. I was intrigued with the results and what I could do with them, and then spent a few dollars and got more detailed reports that helped me to better understand what I could do with these strengths. It is a report that I’ve gone back to again and again as I come to understand how I can improve my lesser strengths and benefit from my signature strengths.
I have more energy working from a strengths perspective
The Via Character Profile tool comes from the “Via Institute on Character”, which is a non-profit organisation that has been generating and using positive psychology research over the last 15 years. They have identified that there are six key virtues of
– which make up a universal understanding of Character, and that each of these virtues have several components. In all they have identified 24 Character strengths that each of us have to varying degrees. The Profile Tool shows that we are naturally stronger in some than others. However, they also believe that it is possible to improve your lesser strengths if some focus is put on them.
Now each of us will have different results. I have worked with a couple of people who have also done this survey, and their results have been quite different from mine. But like me, these other people have gone back a few times to their report and thought about what it means to them. What can they do to better use their key strengths, and what can they do to improve their lesser strengths.
So, what do I learn from all of this? I think the most important thing is that I have more energy working from a strengths perspective. Even focusing on my lesser strengths, as strengths re-frames them into a positive light. Seeing that Hope and Zest are two of my lesser strengths has given me information about myself that I can work with. It has given me an opportunity to give some focus to them and to build them up slowly over time. And I am coming at it from a positive frame of mind – I already have some skills and strengths in these areas – but what can I do to improve them and be stronger in these areas.
I think that it’s worth thinking about how you show up in the workplace from a strengths perspective.
Are you making the most of your signature strengths and are you working on your lesser strengths? But not to focus just on the lesser strengths – I think that it is important to work out ways to engage the best of you and reach the potential of these signature strengths.
I really encourage you to do the free test at the Via Institute on Character. See what you learn, maybe get the Via Me! Pathways report for $20 – I found the report helpful. I’d love to hear from anyone who takes up this challenge. What did you learn about yourself? What are doing more of? And what are you going to focus on to bring your strengths to the workplace?
The Via Institute on Character can be found at http://www.viacharacter.org/www/
The Character Strengths Test can be found at https://www.viacharacter.org/survey/account/register