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3 Reasons to Focus on Strengths

by Beth on August 4th, 2010

Focusing on strengths is an important step toward creating a more positive work environment.  Below are three specific reasons why a strengths-based approach to managing people leads to higher levels of engagement and effectiveness.

Increased positive emotions

A major benefit of focusing on strengths at work is the impact that applying strengths has on positive emotions.  When people are using the abilities that come naturally to them they experience satisfaction, joy, fulfillment, and pride.  In fact, simply discovering what their unique strengths are gives people emotional satisfaction.  So helping people to identify their strengths and giving them the opportunity to do what they do best at work has a direct impact on their positivity.

Greatest potential for success

Another reason to adopt strengths-based management is that people’s greatest opportunities for success come from using their strengths.  The same effort it takes to improve a weakness just a little bit can improve a strength significantly more.  People become successful by capitalizing on their strengths.

Take baseball, for example.  It is often the case that really great pitchers aren’t all that good at batting.  Focusing on improving their weakness would require that pitchers spend most of their time in the batting cage attempting to improve their batting skills.  Yet baseball coaches realize that this would be a huge waste of time.  They will win more games if the pitcher focuses on what he does best and spends his time perfecting his pitch.

Enhanced self-confidence

A final reason to emphasize strengths is that focusing on weaknesses can actually undermine people’s strengths.  Trying to improve a weakness leads to negative emotions and lower self-confidence.  Lower self-confidence in one area of someone’s life will eventually spread to other areas.  People feel worse about themselves in general and start doubting their potential even in areas where they have strengths.

Make sure this doesn’t happen in your organization!  Help your employees to identify their strengths and make an effort to match their strengths to assigned tasks.  Also, spend more time during performance appraisals discussing what your employees are doing well and figuring out how they can do more of it.

One Comment
  1. Francesco Frova permalink

    The “Enhanced self-confidence” paragraph may be risky, but probably a winning strategy!

    Avoiding touching the weaknesses, unless really necessary, while rather focusing on what to hone, is by far a great (and better) approach!

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