I was reminded last week how important it is for us to not only have an awareness of our character strengths in the workplace but to also work with them consciously.
When listening to one of my clients work through a problematic situation with a team member, it became alarmingly clear to them that Tom was not in a role where his character strengths could be utilised.
Tom is an absolute rock star sales assistant; however, he has been promoted into a store manager role which requires him to develop strong relationships with fellow team members and develop and engage his team to be great sales people.
As soon as it was identified what Tom does best; (perseverance and zest) he had clarity on where to develop his weaker strengths to be an effective leader; (Social Intelligence and Leadership).
Character Strengths are the positive parts of your personality that impact how you think, feel, behave and are the keys to you being your best self.
When applied effectively, they are beneficial both to you and society as a whole. They are different than your other strengths, such as; your unique skills, talents, interests and resources, because character strengths reflect the “real” you — who you are at your core. (VIA Institute on Character)
We each possess higher strengths and lesser strengths. When leaders spend most of their time utilising these few higher strengths, they are exceptional leaders and colleagues for all those they interact with.
Character strengths are a great resource to draw upon when;

  • a team member is under-performing in their role
  • there is some uncertainty in a team
  • a leader has left and the team need some motivation
  • a new team member has joined
  • change and innovation are needed

The three main benefits of understanding your strengths as a core foundation towards being a more effective service leader are:

  1. Developing your strengths supports your wellbeing (mental health, stress levels, physical health, satisfaction with life)
  2. A boost to your performance (gain greater confidence, growth and development, job performance and job meaning)
  3. To improves the bottom line of an organisation (employee engagement lifts, team performance optimised)

Here are two popular tools that can help you discover your strengths and develop a plan to build them at work; Gallup StrengthsFinder and Values in Action (VIA) survey.
Values in Action (VIA) survey is based on a classification formed by Martin Selgiman, the guru of positive psychology. This survey contains twenty four character strengths as a way of finding out what is ‘good about a person’.
Jaquie Scammell
‘Why serve when you can inspire’