Are you ready to unleash your unique superpowers?
“There is no more effective way to empower people than to see each person in terms of his or her strengths.“- Don O. Clifton
This is one of my favourite quotes and I share it in almost all my keynote sessions. For me this quote stands for my own personal journey to becoming a confident leader as well as my approach in leading my teams. I truly believe that everyone is good at something. If we help each individual discover, understand and develop their strengths, we will help them become true superstars, each in their own way.
These talents are things that come quite natural to you. However, before analysing them, you might not even be aware or consider these as your strengths.
Strengths and its impact on leadership
When I got promoted to lead my first bigger team of team leads and managers several years ago, I felt excited and proud, but also very nervous. I knew, I could do it. Nevertheless, I still had moments of self-doubt. I was doubting whether I was the right person for the job and whether I had got what it takes. I had way less experience in the field, than some of the individuals in my team, I was now supposed to manage.
And of course, I also started comparing myself to other managers on the same level, their experience and their way of leading. I began to focus on my weaknesses instead of looking at my strengths and what I was really good at. My confidence began to crack.
Strengths are your unique talents
It all changed, when my mentor suggested to do a strengths assessment. That assessment had probably the biggest positive impact on my leadership career. I was so positively surprised about my results. When I read through the pages about my top 5 strengths, it truly resonated with me. Suddenly, I had words to describe my talents and strengths. And I realised that things, I had taken for granted, because they came naturally to me, were actually what set me apart from others. These talents made me a good leader in my own unique way.
As it turns out, the way I communicate with people from all levels or backgrounds, my ability to quickly build relationships and easily explain problems, targets or new ideas, is one of my key strengths. And my quick thinking, being 5 steps ahead, foreseeing possible issues and defining the best path, is a true strength in strategic thinking.
Through analysing my strengths and properly understanding them, I was suddenly able to openly acknowledge what I am good at and proudly talk about it.
It is important that we give ourselves the permission to own our strengths and speak confidently about what we are truly good at
Research by Gallup (www.gallupstrengthscenter.com) shows, that our greatest room for overall improvement does not lie in our weaknesses, but where we are the strongest. We feel more confident when we focus on our strengths. If we get to use our strengths every day in our life, we can achieve high performance and a lower level of stress. We feel more aligned with ourselves. Teams that spend some time on understanding and developing each other’s strength, can actually boost their performance and engagement significantly.
If we only focus on our weaknesses and spend all of our time to improve in those areas, everyone will end up being average at everything. This would create a truly boring world.
Instead, we have to manage our weaknesses just enough so they don’t hold us back – but truly nurture our talents to transform them into our own unique assets.
Understanding your strength
When understanding and developing your strengths, it is important to also be mindful of the implications of an overused strength as it can have a negative impact on our performance and relationships. In my case, for example, a strong communication strength, can lead to talking too much, not listening well enough and others can turn quiet. My strategic and quick thinking can have the effect of leaving others behind, who can’t follow or keep up with my rapid thoughts.
Worrying about an overuse should not hold you back in using your strengths on a daily basis. Instead, try and understand the impact it can have, practice self-awareness and reflection to ensure that you do not loose the connection to the people around you.
Strengths development has an invaluable impact on your leadership performance. Without knowing and understanding your strengths it is impossible to be a good and authentic leader. We have to learn to harness our strengths and be open about our weaknesses. That way our teams will learn to trust us as leaders and feel confident about their own strengths and weaknesses as well.
Let’s empower each other to be proud of our strengths and develop them into our unique superpowers. Do you know your strengths? Maybe you spend too much time focussing on your weaknesses? Here is what you can do: