We Don’t Always Respect Our Own Strengths. We Should Change That.

Photo by James Pond on Unsplash

Strengths have endured as a focal point of career growth. Author Whitney Johnson, speaks of our unsung “super-powers” that can drive both career disruption and growth. Massive training organizations, have arisen and flourished, to discuss how we might find our strengths. We all seem to agree that strengths matter — and that their identification is vital.

However, no amount of research, training or persuasion, can help us avoid the wasted energy and missed opportunities which occur because of one simple fact: As individuals, we may value strength identification, but respect for those same strengths does not always follow. The idea of strengths deeply resonates  — but adopting an application mindset does not always follow.

We tend to treat strength alignment, as if it were a luxury item — when in fact it functions like water. A fundamental. A basic. A necessity. Respecting our strengths is integral to building Core Stability.

Normalizing the notion of strength alignment, and exploring methods to bring alignment front and center should become a priority. (Few things could sustain us career-wise, with as much power.) Yet “noise” persists while seeking to apply that “strength signal”.

Weaving the notion of strength application into our conversations about work should become more natural, as there are opportunities that we often overlook. For example, when have you freely shared with a team member: “You know, you have an incredible ability to do this — let’s ensure you have the opportunity to develop and apply this skill going forward.” Similarly, when is the last time you asked: “It has come to my attention that I have this specific strength. Any ideas about how I might apply it going forward?”

What happens next? What should be done with that information? Attempt to change the plan going forward. Let that knowledge serve as a guiding force, helping you (and others) through our own career journey. A campaign — so to speak — to apply our strengths.

Aligning strengths won’t happen without a nudge in the right direction.

We must declare that we believe in their importance.

It is up to us, to champion the mindset and lead that charge.

Do you utilize a technique that helps others apply their strengths and incorporate them into their work lives? Share it here.

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, Quartz and The Huffington Post.


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