Are You Regularly Playing to Your Strengths?

During research for his book, “Now, Discover Your Strengths”, Marcus Buckingham asked this question; “At work, do you have the ability to do what you do best every day?” He reports that only 20% of the people responded “strongly agree”. He also points out that most organizations operate at 20% capacity. Coincidence? I think not.

When you ask yourself, “At work, do I have the ability to do what I do best every day?” What’s your response? And even more to the point, do you really know what your strengths are?

Our clients most often laugh and say they have an opportunity to do what they’re best at once per week. This is critical and stunning data given we work exclusively with high potential and high performing leaders! Yet it also indicates a tremendous upside if we can find a way to bring their strengths into play on a more regular basis.

The question we then ask is: “How can you design your week so that you are playing to your strengths at least some time during each day?” The challenge, of course, lies in meeting the expectations of your job, combined with playing to your strengths. Many times these are not aligned. Your manager needs you to achieve the expectations that they hired you to accomplish and you may learn/decide that your strengths aren’t tied to the job you accepted. This is where negotiation and strong communication needs to happen, beginning with you! Bringing your A-game to the table on a regular basis before you start this conversation will exponentially stack the odds in your favor. P.S. You may think you are bringing your A-game, but there needs to be consensus, especially from the people who can give or keep you from what you want!!

That begs another question: as a leader who manages, are you hiring the right type of people for the positions you need filled? Most people are grossly ignorant about their strengths, but they do know what they like to do — and many don’t associate that with work!! (I’ve noticed this quite a bit as I go out into the world and deal with retail clerks for an extensive home remodel my husband and I have embarked upon.)

With the talent shortage that we are currently experiencing in business (and predicted to get worse), it is imperative that you foster a work environment that people want to be a part of, plus use a rigorous interviewing/hiring process, including behavioral questions, interviews with you and critical people on your team who will work with the new hire, references, and appropriate talent assessments.

As a leader, the best way for you to attract great people who are engaged, perform their best and stay with your organization, is for you to create an environment that speaks to that group of people! What do you need to put in place to make that happen?


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