Strengths Part 2
…to the second part of a three-part VLOG series on strengths!
Last time we talked about the question, “Are you able to bring your strengths to work every day?” The people around you, do they bring theirs? As you will recall, there are three ways people can choose to bring (or not bring) their strengths.
They can either conform to try to match their strengths externally; they can try to keep their energy within, which is to conceal their strengths or they can cultivate them. This week, we are going to focus on the impact of all of those options. Let’s start with the question, how do you know if somebody is cultivating versus concealing or conforming?
If you are a leader, peer who is really invested in your team, or business owner, you are going to want to look for these signs, because there’s a recipe here. The early signs that you can do something about. You can course correct to leverage the greatest assets in your team. You can create an environment where strengths are valued and drawn upon. However just like a recipe, if you get too far along in the process, trying to cook a beautiful dish but you have been using the wrong ingredients, there may be no salvaging it. I’m hoping there’s lots that you can salvage if people are showing some of the early signs that they are not leveraging their strengths.
Tip: Did you get our free one-pager on these three strengths strategies? If you missed it or want to pass it on to someone else, download it here.
When people are conforming to others’ expectations, they are showing their first signs of burnout. You’ll know because they are busy checking with other people if they are making progress; if they are performing, they may be staying late, they’re maybe having to re-do work. In the end, they are just going to exhaust themselves. People who burn themselves out, and can end up on sick or stress leave. That’s the thing you need to look for, the early signs of burnout before we have the down the road signs that somebody just can’t deal with it anymore.
How will you know if someone’s concealing it? They’re disengaged, perhaps not speaking up in meetings or meeting deadlines. You know that there is brilliance there, you hired them for a particular talent or skill and yet, you are not seeing it. Why? That is the most important question to ask yourself. When people are disengaged, they have two options and both involve leaving.
- They can leave in terms of their presence; they are going to show up in body, but they won’t be there in spirit. In HR we call this presenteeism.
- They can physically leave, and given that we are in a talent shortage, that shows no signs of easing until 2030, I don’t think you can afford to lose your tope talent.
How do you know when somebody is truly cultivating their strengths? When they’re looking externally for opportunities to grow, and match what is expected, and they are also really good with what they bring to the table. They know what they are good at and aren’t afraid to suggest how they can use their gifts. These are the people who stand out; they’re innovating, they’re the ones that customers say, “I want that person serving me next time”, the support their colleagues, they follow through.
Depending on your industry, this may look a little different, but any time someone is considered a high performer, they are cultivating their strengths. If you’re looking around wondering where they all are, it’s time to look at how unique strengths are valued in your team or organization. If there’s everywhere, keep working that recipe – you are clearly a natural curator of strengths.
Here’s one more tip for you. Take a look at what those folks who are shining are doing. Ask them, why are you happy where you work? What strengths are your bringing and how are we enabling that to happen? Learn from where success is happening. This formula, to be able to work this recipe of strengths well, it’s not only being mindful of the early signs that somebody is not using their strengths, but it’s also looking at the signs when somebody is. What allows that recipe to be a success?