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How to Appreciate Your Strengths

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How to Appreciate Your Strengths

Each and every individual in this world is unique and different from others in his/her own way. Each one of us possesses distinct talents and our strengths and weaknesses vary from others. Just think of all the different athletes participating in the Olympics or other games; each sportsperson specializes in his/her sport and knows how to be the best in that particular field. A sprinter will know exactly when to increase running speed, the shot putter will know with how much force to throw the shot, the gymnast will know which technique to use in order to balance up in the air, and so on.

All of these are specialists in their field; if they changed sport you could not expect them to be the best at what they do. If they were to change sport their strengths would be redundant; they would try to perform in areas where they could be weak.

In the business world, managers tend to criticize work and do not tend to encourage or praise staff when they have performed well. Your boss will usually focus on areas for your improvement and you will remember the negative comments more than the positive and encouraging ones.

Criticisms are most memorable, and this leads to you work on improving your weaknesses and ignoring your strengths.

This article will provide information on:

  • Importance of strengths.
  • How to use this tool ( + Affinity Diagrams)

Importance of strengths

Managers will highlight the areas for improvement for staff. If the strengths that staff have are ignored then performance will not improve.

The reasons are:

If managers constantly focus on weaknesses of staff, it will not encourage them to work on those areas, as negative feedback generally makes people defensive. An individual will naturally feel that observations about his/her work are untrue and may feel that that particular aspect of the job isn’t relevant anyway. They will not be motivated to improve in that area.

We tend to react well to praise; when we realize that what we are doing is being appreciated, we try to repeat the same again in the hope of getting even more praise.

Secondly, it has been argued that human strengths and weaknesses are fixed to an extent. Hence, you should be clear about what your strengths are. The traditional appraisal method doesn’t help in identifying strengths, so you need to find a way of identifying your strengths and working on them.

The following is an overview of some steps that have been used in the Reflected Best Self technique:

Survey others about your strengths

First of all collect around ten or more individuals who are in a position to give you un-biased and accurate feedback about your strengths. This could include colleagues, former colleagues, friends and family members.

Ask them to think about what your strengths are and to give an example of the strengths that they identify. These can be any type of strengths, not necessarily work related.

If you’re unhappy in your current job then it is important that you get feedback from people who know you from outside the context of work. They can identify your real strengths that you haven’t been able to display at work.

Ensure that the participants in this exercise understand that you’re looking to identify and understand your strengths and are not simply fishing for compliments.

At work, you can perform this exercise with co-workers and let them do it on their own if they wish to.

However, if you’re too shy to ask others to participate in this exercise, you can identify ten close people to you that you have known for quite some time and then write down what you believe they would identify as your strengths.

The full version of the “How to appreciate your strengths” ebook, available from most book stores, helps you learn how to:

  • Identify your strengths
  • Appreciate your strength
  • Play to your strengths
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