Much has been written, spoken and discussed over the last decade+ about the strengths-based approach to management championed by Marcus Buckingham. He has written several books on the topic, many of which have become bestsellers.
I heard Buckingham speak on the topic at a National SHRM Conference a few years ago. He was really good (very funny, actually) and made a compelling case for the power of his message. People are more fulfilled when they are doing work they are good at, which means it plays to their strengths.
How much more energizing is an annual performance review conversation with your manager when it emphasizes all the things you do WELL, instead of one which glosses over your accomplishments, only to focus on your “areas for development” or “opportunities?”
Naturally, we all have things to improve upon, so no one is suggesting those should be swept under the rug. It’s a question of placing your talent in roles which play to their strengths and providing them opportunities to shine.
I’m writing about this now because it seems to be coming up lately.
Here are a couple of examples:
- One person goes to a job interview and realizes the role is not right for her. Even though she is qualified and meets the criteria on paper, it will not enable her to do enough of the things she really enjoys, which involve direct interaction with customers to help solve their problems. She lets the recruiter know she is not the right fit for the company hiring. This took courage!
- Another person choses to leave a job he has had for many years to seek out his next entrepreneurial adventure. He has learned enough about himself and his own strengths over the years to know that he is best at (and happiest when) he is building something new. Now that his latest company has reached a certain level of maturity, it’s time to move on. This is not easy to do either!
This all comes down to self awareness.
If you know what you are good at and what brings you satisfaction, are you in a job or role which enables you to spent a significant amount of your time doing those things?
If not, why not? The answer to this could be complicated.
Might 2015 be the time to make a change and do something about that?
If you are not yet aware of where your strengths lie, then perhaps the holiday season is the perfect time to look into the StrengthsFinder assessment.