Tuesday, December 7, 2010

10 actions for adopting a strengths based approach

A colleague recently posed the following question - “ how do we get organisations and managers recognising and acting on the strengths concept, rather than the negative weakness focus we see so regularly? ”

Here are 10 things you could consider for your team, organization and business:

1) Having right people in the right job/role so they can use their key strengths has to be a start!

2) Continuously ask, “What is working well for our team, organization or business?”

3) Ask routinely, “What do we well which we need to keep doing?”

4) Do a strengths-based check. How much of our daily work time is spent using our strengths?

5) Not everybody including managers and leaders always know their strengths. Get feedback on what others perceive as your strengths. Sometimes we can be too close to it and or take it for granted.

6) For leaders to commit to fostering a culture that values innovation and creativity and enables individuals within them to utilize their strengths and “push the envelope” without feeling they will be penalized. Clearly leaders in organisations have to be supportive of a strengths-based approach otherwise it can feel all uphill!

7) Check regularly and tune in to where our own cognitions and feelings reside. Where is the “default” setting? What do we spend more time thinking about – problems or the desired future, solutions, possibility and what could be?

8)For managers and leaders to acknowledge, praise, notice and give feedback when they notice people using their strengths. This can be a powerful reinforcement as it makes the recipient feel good and also increase their levels of engagement.

9) All of this has an assumption that people are still enjoying using their strengths. There is thing called overused strength! (Not being negative here in this strength-based piece!!) Just acknowledging though that overused strengths which can lead to burnout is not what we are referring to here.

10) Finally, as Mary McGuiness said to me, a few weeks ago at the Australian Association of Psychological Type Conference, “make sure you use your strengths in ways that you enjoy outside of work things.” This really struck a chord as indeed this a part of that essential yin yang of “balance and restoration.”
Jasbindar Singh is a Business Psychologist and leadership coach who loves working with people in business.

Jasbindar Singh is a business psychologist and leadership coach. She loves making a difference to the lives of people at work.

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