Imagine working in a team where everyone knows what they are good at. Where everyone is super clear about their role and responsibilities and these align perfectly with their strengths.
A team that doesn’t focus on weaknesses and everyone has a clearer understanding of each individual.
A strengths-based team is one that celebrates natural talents. It is a team that works together to achieve the best possible outcome for any business without the pressure of each individual trying to achieve something they aren’t naturally good at.
When a team is based on the strengths of others, it is an environment that works for everyone, not against them. This of course has great benefits for not only the individual but the company as a whole.
What is strengths-development?
A strengths-based approach focuses on what is right with people and not what is wrong. It focuses on each person’s strengths and manages strategies around their weaknesses.
Strengths development is the process of taking your natural talents and refining and training you to use them intentionally, just like a muscle.
The aim is to invest in your talents to grow them into mature strengths that help you to achieve your goals and bring ease to your role and everyday life.
What is a strengths-based team?
Being on a team or in a partnership means helping others do what they do best and appreciating it.
Great partners know in what areas they are strong and weak. They know how they can best complement each other to accomplish a goal.
They help each other maximise their strengths by identifying specific action items that align each person’s talents and strengths with reaching the goal.
A strengths-based team is a team that knows and understands the strengths of each individual and they work alongside each other with a deep knowledge of how each person plays their role in the team. There are a lot of amazing benefits that come with working in a strengths-based team.
Benefits of a strengths-based team
- The increase of productivity
We live in a world, where we are always measured and judged based on our weaknesses.
It starts in school and continues throughout our education and career path.
We are told what to “fix” to achieve excellence. But excellence looks different for everyone. We all have unique talents that allow us to create our own version of excellence.
Research has shown that people who learn to use their strengths every day have 7.8% greater productivity.
Because the truth is that not everyone can be good at everything. And we need to allow for individualised excellence profiles and align these to the strengths of the individual.
When we try to focus on the strengths of your team members, it helps them to improve and excel in those areas. Keep it positive.
Think of it like this. You work in a marketing department. It might take Amy next to you 1 hour to write a 500 word blog for the company website, but it might take you up to 3 hours to create the same blog, simply because this ‘skillset’ isn’t part of your strengths. So, it makes more sense for Amy, who likes and enjoys writing, to create this content. Your strengths can be best used analysing the data of the social media platforms, for example.
There are loads of examples, just like this, of how your strengths can make you more productive in certain tasks simply because you are naturally good at them and enjoy taking part in them as well.
- A good Return on Investment (ROI) for the business
What is the ROI on strengths development for teams and organisations?
A new client once asked me this question recently and I shared with them a study Gallup has completed in 2016.
Gallup studied 49,495 business units in 45 countries and found the following impressive results.
On average, workgroups that received strengths-based development showed:
- 10% to 19% increased sales
- 14% to 29% increased profit
- 3% to 7% higher customer engagement
- 6% to 16% lower turnover (in low-turnover organisations)
- 26% to 72% lower turnover (in high-turnover organisations)
- 9% to 15% increase in engaged employees
- 22% to 59% fewer safety incidents
What did these companies do to achieve this?
Firstly, all of their employees completed their CliftonStrengths® assessment.
But furthermore, Gallup found that these companies often work toward creating a strengths-based culture using these seven strategies:
- Leadership alignment: Putting the elements in place for a strengths-based culture, beginning at the top
- Manager alignment: Developing teams and employees from the perspective of strengths
- Internal communication: Generating awareness of and enthusiasm for strengths
- Strengths community: Making strengths an integral and natural part of the organisation’s day-to-day operations
- Performance management: Focusing development and recognition on employees’ strengths
- Coaching: Building a network of strengths experts and advocates
- Brand building: Tying the organisation’s strengths-based culture to its larger brand
We know it isn’t all about the money, but it is great to see that knowing and understanding the strengths of each team member makes them feel empowered to not only stay at the company longer, but to do the type of work that will help the business move forward with positive growth.
- Creates better partnerships in the workplace
Individuals who know their strengths work together to form better partnerships, and more thoughtful partnerships create stronger teams. Strong teams start with the individual.
When we can understand how the people around us work and what their strengths are, it is easier to communicate, build relationships and connect better as a team. It makes for delegating tasks easier and partnerships with projects become more efficient as roles are easier to define.
- Increases positive business outcomes
The strengths and dynamics of your team directly affect business outcomes.
Consider this fact about CliftonStrengths®. When predicting both engagement and performance, a team’s awareness of their strengths is more important than the specific composition of those strengths. In other words – just knowing your strengths, as well as the strengths of your partners, leads to higher engagement and performance.
Higher levels of engagement affect business outcomes such as:
- 41% lower absenteeism
- 24% lower turnover (high-turnover orgs)
- 17% higher productivity
- 21% higher profitability
These are the items that great teams have in common:
- Team members can name and understand the individual talents of everyone on the team.
- Team members can see a clear connection between each other’s strengths and behaviour. They can see the link between strengths and success.
- Everyone on the team has partnerships that encourage their strengths-development.
- Team members use their knowledge of each other’s strengths to plan, strategise, analyse and direct their actions.
This makes the assumption that happy team members = a happier and healthier business. When we know more about how we work and fit within a business, it can improve the sense of purpose within the team and business.
- It fosters diversity
Diversity means cultivating talent and promoting the full inclusion of excellence across the entire spectrum of society. Combining our unique strengths is key to creating positive work cultures and driving innovation.
I have seen first-hand that teams who celebrate diversity are more successful. I have also seen the challenges individuals from minorities face – to be seen, heard and valued.
The strengths assessment provides each team member with a deep understanding of their natural talents. It focuses on what’s right with people rather than what’s not. Teams learn to look past their prejudice and bias, they look past who they like or don’t like on a personality level, they start to see each individual for their contribution, no matter their gender, cultural background, disability or age.
Through workshops, teams develop an appreciation for everyone’s strengths. Every member is celebrated for their unique contribution to the team’s goals. Individuals meet their human need to fit in and stand out because they are valued for their unique abilities.
How to foster a strengths-based team
To foster a strengths based-team, first the team needs to know the strengths of those around them. This can work in this very simple way:
- Everyone does their assessment and strengths coaching
- The team gets together for a strengths workshop to fully understand and appreciate each other’s strengths, how they can form powerful partnerships and understand their full team strengths profile. They develop strategies to use their combined strengths for team goals and challenges
- Leaders master their strengths and work to help and support their team through their own strengths
- The individuals of the team work to master their own strengths
The most important thing to do after each team member learns their strengths is to ensure everyone works to not only master their own strengths but to work to understand the strengths of the people within the team. This can be done through team bonding workshops and activities.
Is your team looking to unleash their strengths? A strengths focus empowers diversity and builds appreciation for what is right with each individual/team member and not what is wrong.
Want to know more about strengths building? Anne provides customised coaching and training programs based on a variety of in-person & online options for the manager, their teams and the whole organisation. Anne uses the CliftonStrengths assessment to support this work.
We will tailor the program to suit your needs. It usually includes 1:1 Coaching for the individuals and leaders as well as our team strengths workshop “Unleash your Team Strengths”. Learn more here