Playing to Our Strengths
Strengths are defined as things that we are good at, but that we also enjoy doing. People who use their strengths report higher levels of wellbeing, motivation, career success and self-confidence and lower levels of stress. Crucially for organisations, research has shown that using strengths-based approaches brings commercial success, higher customer engagement, higher staff engagement and retention.
Strengths vs Competencies
The term competency is frequently used in organisations and generally refers to a demonstratable characteristic or skill that facilitates a person’s performance in a role. Strengths on the other hand, focus more on what energises us and how that underlying energy powers our competencies or skills. While competencies can drain us if we find them particularly challenging or unnatural, strengths empower us to take on challenges and achieve higher levels of performance. Strengths are also aligned with our future potential rather than simply focusing on our current standard of performance. Ultimately, both strengths and competencies can be useful in areas such as recruitment, development, and management, but strengths provide additional insight and use over and above what can be measured using competencies. In a practical sense, strengths-based interviewing can help to identify what a candidate can bring to the team, rather than what they might be lacking.
Strengths and Personality
Strengths are also something different from personality and preference. Personality traits, as measured by personality inventories, come from a different school of psychological thought than strengths, which come from positive psychology. Research has shown that tools measuring strengths, such as Strengthscope, measure something significantly different than personality inventories, such as Hogan, but these tools can be used in conjunction to open up conversations about people’s drivers, motivations and values. Strengths-based coaching is an excellent way to bring out these conversations and support personal and professional continuous development.
Strengths and Values
Once we know what our strengths are, they are a great tool to help us to be authentically ourselves and align our work with our values and purpose. Our values are our guiding principles for how we live our lives, and also how we work and why we do the work we choose to do. Using your strengths to understand what energises you helps to highlight ‘stand out’ strengths which indicate when you are feeling your most comfortable and aligned with your values. Being aligned with your values generates positive emotions, which often show up when we are utilising our key strengths. Knowing these key strengths helps us to communicate our personal brand to others and helps them to understand who we are, what motivates us and how our values are reflected in what we do.
Commonly used within recruitment, psychometric testing allows for analysis of various characteristics of an individual, for example their aptitude and mental ability. Typical psychometrics are done prior to the interview stages as a means of identifying candidates with certain traits that would align with the job role. Strength-based psychometrics differ as they are typically used during the final stage of the recruitment process as a means of determining whether a candidate would fit into the current work culture. Throughout the recent years, businesses are becoming aware that a more qualified candidate doesn’t make them the best person for the job – if a candidate doesn’t fit in with the organisation’s culture, the transition period into the role could be disruptive to themselves, the employer and other employees.
How can Impact help?
Impact offers strengths-based approaches across a wide range of topics including recruitment, assessment, team development, coaching and leadership. To find out more about how we can help, you can get in touch with us here.
We’ve recently utilised a strengths-based approach to team development and employee engagement with one of our clients. This included a focused and holistic team development programme, integrating psychometric assessment, individual coaching and workshop-based interventions, enabling a team that was not functioning well to develop a “Just Culture” and to perform and thrive. Read more about this case study here.