October 26, 2011
building on your strengths
Do you read work-related books or blogs to keep you in the loop of what's relevant in your field? I've started doing this in my free time and it is radically changing the way I view work and my role at my current employer.
I recently did the Strengthsfinder 2.0 assessment out of curiosity. I majored in Psychometrics, so personality assessments always interest me. This one in particular has taken my career planning to a whole new level.
The assessment is based on Strengths-Based-Psychology, suggesting that we change our way of thinking from "what's wrong with me and how do I fix it?" to "what am I good at and how do I build on that?". Mind-blowing revelation for me, because all this time I have been buying books and reading up on how to fix all of my weaknesses (which is pretty depressing to say the least). Sure, it helps to work on things you want to improve on, but the majority of my energy and time should be going into developing my natural strengths. People pick up very easily when I am trying to be a different version of someone else, when all along I could have been the best version of myself.
I was surprised by a few of my top strengths, because they are different from descriptors typically found in personality assessments. Being "strategic" (for example) is something I've been taking for granted all my life, but now I can look for opportunities at work to exercise this strength, and if my current role doesn't require this skill I can consider choosing a career path that does.
What I also love about the assessment is that it doesn't give you your score per item, and it only identifies your top 5 strengths. I usually look at my lowest scores instead of my highest ones, and beat myself up for not being strong in those areas. So phew... now I don't even know if I scored badly for any specific item.
Odds are, if you are doing what you do well every day, you are bound to be more engaged in your position. So you can get a copy in bookstores or online (amazon.com or loot.co.za), and in the book you'll find your password for the online assessment. With your registration also comes a 6 month free subscription to the Gallup Management Journal (FANTASTIC reading!) so you really get great value for money.
Have you read it?? Do you agree with this strengths-based way of thinking??