As the Olympics draws to a close, athletes at their peak will reflect on what worked well and what they could have done better. Did they capitalise on their strengths enough? Did they leverage the strengths of their team enough? Strengths are what we’re good at and are what energises us. Gallup has found that individuals at work who use their strengths every day are 6 times more likely to be engaged and less likely to want to leave their current company*.
So in a fast-changing and increasingly complex environment, discover our top 5 ways for helping you leverage your strengths and that of your team to achieve your peak performance…
1. Name your strengths
Often people have a lack of awareness of what their strengths are. So it’s important to spend time understanding your own strengths, what energises you and that of your team. Be specific and name them. Appreciate how they add value to the success of your team and appreciate others for their contribution. If you need help to do this, explore working with a coach or an organisation that can help you understand your unique strengths profile.
2. Focus on individual and collective strengths
Research shows that the most effective teams leverage a diverse and complementary range of strengths. These teams have a true understanding of each other’s strengths and have learnt to utilise them in the most dynamic way, unlocking a unified vision towards the same goal. Dr Paul Bremerton and James Brook share research that shows ‘if you spend 80% of your time and effort on your core strengths and opportunities and 20% on reducing weaker areas and performance risks, you will grow in terms of success, resilience, confidence and engagement.’ **
3. Create a strong learning culture
In a context of exponential change and increasing complexity, creating a strong culture of learning, engagement and collective accountability is vital to thriving within this environment. “Business as usual” won’t cut it anymore. Instead, and whilst not always easy, ensuring that you and your team have time regularly planned for exploration, experimentation and collaborative learning is a must have to driving greater innovation and agility.
4. Stretch your collective strengths
Once you have developed a clear understanding and have aligned strengths to roles and responsibilities, challenge yourselves in a supportive way to “stretch” them by using them in a new way. Take yourselves out of your comfort zone. Be aware of your break point, i.e where not to take your team into a domain of burnout or anxiety and you will find that you are much more likely to turn constraints into opportunities and drive transformational change.
5. Address performance risks
Working with a strength’s practitioner, you would focus and question 3 main types of performance risk, identifying what is relevant to you. 1. Limiting weaknesses. These are things you’re not good at. Do these hinder your performance and need to be addressed or not? 2. Strengths in overdrive. These are things you are good at, but if used at the wrong time or in the wrong amount, can limit progress. Do you need to regulate these? 3. Other sources of internal interference. These are often self-limiting beliefs or assumptions. How can you increase your self-awareness and develop the right habits to counter them?
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* Gallup website
** ‘Stretch, Leading beyond boundaries’, James Brook and Dr Paul Brewerton, Strengthscope founders
* ‘give your ideas some legs’ by M Oppezzo and D Schwartz