Use Assessments to Identify Strengths
An important step for increasing organizational positivity is to focus on people’s strengths. In order to do this, leaders first need to help their employees identify their strengths. Below I describe three different web-based assessments that can be used for strengths identification.
VIA Survey of Character Strengths
This is a free questionnaire that measures 24 character traits. Martin Seligman and Christopher Peterson identified these to be ubiquitous strengths valued in cultures around the globe. They are grouped into six categories: Wisdom and knowledge, Courage, Humanity, Justice, Temperance, and Transcendence. The survey consists of 240 questions and the results provide test-takers with their top five strengths. There is also a VIA Youth Survey. Both surveys can be found at www.viasurvey.org.
StrengthsFinder is an assessment created by the Gallup organization that has 180 questions and measures individuals’ talents related to 34 signature themes. This inventory also provides test-takers with their top five talents or signature themes. It was developed specifically for organizational settings, so the strengths that are identified are more directly applicable to work than are the strengths identified using the VIA Survey. To take the StrengthsFinder assessment you can purchase one of several books, including StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath and Now, Discover your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton, that provide a unique access code.
This inventory was developed by the Centre for Applied Positive Psychology. The items in this survey assess a large number of strengths based on energy, performance, and use. Results identify realized strengths, unrealized strengths, learned behaviors, and weaknesses. In addition to assessing strengths, Realise2 includes action-planning tools to help people develop a plan for applying their strengths. The Realise2 survey can be purchased at www.realise2.org.
Why not start by assessing your own strengths? Great leaders not only help their employees to identify and apply their strengths, but they know what their own strengths are and they use them to serve others.