I hope you have been enjoying the series on strengths! Now we can move forward into how you bring those strengths forward in your teams.
The most important thing I want to encourage you to do is to think about a high performing team that you have been a part of. First, get that picture in your mind of a team that you belong to; where you have clicked, where you are working together collaboratively and where you knew what you needed to accomplish and were productive. However you define success as a team, that’s the picture I encourage you to have in your mind.
What was common in team success?
Were people all trying to be the same or was there some value of differences? Was there an appreciation that we may not always agree or disagree? Was conflict leveraged as a healthy form of discourse? Was the shared wisdom of the group valued over any one persons contributions?
From my experience as part of high performing teams, those are some of the key elements of success. And don’t take my word for it. Experts in high performing teams discuss these very elements.
So now let’s add on the lens of strengths. Here’s some tips for you:
- Understand Yours and Others’ Strengths
Complete a strengths tool and share the results. Remember there’s a free evidence-based tool from Penn State University you can get here. Share your results with each other. What’s in the top 5? What’s the bottom 5? Where are you similar? Where are you different? How can this serve the team?
- Give Strengths-Based Feedback
Not only can you give feedback to each other using a less formal and more fun, open and inventive approach with this tool, you can use it in future conversations. Use the language of strengths in your feedback. You will know each other better going forward too. When we know each other better, and value each other’s strengths, there is greater trust. If you are not comfortable in sharing that, you may have some tricky times ahead.
- Map Out your Teams’ Strengths
When you know each other’s top strengths, you can physically map them out. You can physically map it out on a white board, plotter paper, flip chart, etc. The most commonly shared strengths, put them in big circles with individuals’ names below. Discuss what strengths are related to each of these common strengths? Draw lines to connect them and add names below these strengths. There’s no right or wrong way (as long as all strengths are treated as important). Get curious how strengths manifest themselves in your work environment and future meetings.
- Make Strengths Visible for Everyone
For big change projects, mission critical objectives, and even smaller operational discussions, think about the strengths needed and align people based on strengths wherever possible. For each project, identify your top three or four strengths needed, go back to your map, and see where you already have those strengths on the team. Talk about a great way for someone to get committed to and feeling connected with a project! Help people see they will be successful in the project before they even start! Keep your strengths map out for others to see. Make it a visual reminder that strengths matter.
I hope you found these suggestions helpful on how to bring strengths alive in your team. As a recognition expert, it starts with you and your own greatness so you are able to see that in other people then cultivate it. Strengths is an essential ingredient in this winning formula!