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how to build strengths based team leadership coach anne koopmann

How to Build a Strengths-Based Team

Building a team on strengths doesn’t come down to exactly the type of skills you hire.It is about truly knowing and understanding the people in your team. A strengths-based team is built on understanding who it is you are managing and where their natural talents lie and how you can help them to use their talents every day and be at their best.

Not from “let’s see how hard they will work”. Quite the opposite in fact. It is finding out what they are good at and what they enjoy and then asking them to continue to build on those elements. Once you have a playing field of various team members with various strengths, they all work together to create one well oiled machine to guide you, your department and the company.

 What is a strengths based team? 

A strengths based team is simply just that. A team that knows their strengths and works in alignment with these strengths daily.

When each team member understands where their strengths lie, they know what unique contribution they can make to the team. They know how to go about others who have different strengths as well. It is a team not trying to pick up on the weakness, it is a team playing to strengths and working together to do what empowers them.

Strengths work to build relationships not just in the team directly but with people outside of the close team working together. It allows each team member to know where they can bring their knowledge and when to call on others. It is really the definition of “work smarter, not harder”.

The characteristics of a strengths based team:

  • They share a mission and purpose.
  • Team members understand and appreciate that they are great at some things and not very good at others
  • Team members are aware of each other’s talent filters

Strengths can be assessed using tools like the Gallup CliftonStrengths®. The assessments break up each individual into certain themes. The CliftonStrengths® themes give team members words to describe what is right about each other. This gives the team a way to identify, discuss, develop and use each person’s natural potential and power.

When team members take a close look at each person’s talents, they begin to discover the amazing variety and intricacy in how each individual naturally thinks, feels and behaves. When they get to know one another’s talents, strengths, needs and motivations, team members can find ways to improve their partnerships and performance.

Because people’s talents influence their interactions, decisions and activities, others can misread them. People can even have negative misperceptions of a theme. When others devalue a person’s theme or theme-based actions, that individual might not contribute their most valuable talents to the team.

Help people become more aware of and appreciate their unique talents and potential so that they can make better use of their talents when working with others.

A strengths-based team is a group of imperfect but talented contributors who are valued for their strengths and who need one another to realise individual and team excellence.

What are the Gallup strengths?  

The Gallup strengths are a combination of 34 CliftonStrengths® themes. They are categorised under the categories of:

  • Relationship building
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Executing
  • Influencing

Dive into all of the themes here. Through the strengths assessment, each individual learns about where their areas of strength lie based on the themes. Once they are able to identify and finetune their own individual strengths, they can overcome:

  • Lack of confidence
  • Limiting beliefs
  • Imposter syndrome
  • Taking on work they don’t enjoy
  • Not being in the ‘zone of genius’
  • Working too much on weakness rather than building strengths

It is aimed to help people work with more intention and more efficiently.

What do you need to know about team building through strengths? 

A team building exercise around strengths isn’t about sitting in a boardroom sharing ideas and talking. It is all about learning more about yourself and those around you.

It isn’t about going for Friday night drinks (although nice). It is about learning who works better in certain areas and literally living the term “stick to your strengths”. It makes for the working experience a lot more enjoyable. Because you are working on things YOU like and enjoy and you call on others to help and support you in areas you are not so strong in.

When we stop trying to create or find the perfect team, we realise it does not exist! Nobody is perfect and therefore, no team can ever be perfect.

But a team made up of imperfect individuals can still be very successful and create a perfect outcome together

It is time to celebrate our imperfections.

The key is to work with the team to understand their individual strengths and how these strengths compliment each other.

Here are some of the best things about strengths building:

  1. It is FUN! It is about using activities to get people up and out. Utilising things like LEGO to play to everyone’s strengths. It is about discovering what you find fun in your job
  2. It is inclusive and positive. Finding strengths in each person isn’t labelling anyone in a negative light. It is all about discovering everyones power and abilities! It is about including each team member and empowering them to own their own strength
  3. It is a day with purpose! After a team building workshop using strengths there is purpose and structure. Team members will leave with knowledge and purpose not only about themselves but others and the team

In workshops for teams and organisations, the team will spend a day with each other to explore their unique team strengths profile.

The outcomes we create throughout the workshop are:

  • each individual has a detailed understanding of their strengths
  • each team member understands how they can contribute to the team based on their unique strengths profile
  • the team understands their combined strengths
  • the team is aware of potential blind spots and how they can use their strengths to cover those blind spots.
  • each team member understands that they are not perfect
  • everyone has a high appreciation for the others’ strengths

A team building session focusing on strengths is beneficial well after the workshop or day.

Here are some stats we think you will find interesting:

  • People who focus on using their strengths are THREE TIMES as likely to report having an excellent quality of life and SIX TIMES as likely to be engaged in their role.
  • People who learn to use their strengths every day have 7.8% greater productivity.

To learn more about team building through strengths, please check out the following article.

Final thoughts 

Do you want to build your team off the back of their strengths? Here is how you start.

A Full Day Team Strengths Workshop (in-person) or 2 Half Day Online Workshop Sessions look like this…

During this day/the sessions, we will deep dive into the strengths profile of each individual and the collective strengths of the team. It is a highly interactive session that uses a variety of facilitation tools (i.e. LEGO, team building exercises etc), that builds trust among the team members.

Together the team will define strategies on how to best work together. Team members learn to value their strengths and start to build a culture of diversity and inclusion.

The best results for the team are achieved, if each team member receives an individual coaching session before they come together for the team workshop. This provides each individual with time to reflect, understand and fully appreciate their strengths results.

Are you ready to build a team? Learn more about it here!