Knowing your strengths, and doing what you do best

Do you know your own strengths?

Do we really know what we are truly good at, or do we just have a vague idea? I think most people have some awareness of their own strengths, but more often than not we have been brought up in a culture where we identify our weaknesses and work on improving those instead.

Recently as part of a Project Management Planning Day, we were given a book (Strength Finders 2.0 by Tom Rath). Prior to the day we were asked to read the introduction and complete an online assessment.

Really??

Initially, I think we were all a little sceptical, however, this was the first step in understanding individually what we were truly good at (rather than just what we think we are) and as a team how did we all fit together.

Just reading the introduction was a bit of an eye opener for me, and one of the phrases that stood out for me was:

“You cannot be anything you want to be — but you can be a lot more of who you already are.”

The basic concept behind the book and the assessment is that you must spend more time working on things you are naturally good at, rather than putting in all your effort into things you naturally find harder. Needless to say, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still try at everything. But knowing your natural talents and strengths can enable you to focus your time, and take control of how you approach your life.

The book is broken down into 34 themes (strengths) and ideas for action based on extensive user research. Under each theme is then an overview, an example of what a person with that strength sounds like, ideas for action (these are essentially to do items which will help you capitlise on th strength), and how to work with others who have that strength. All very insightful.

The results are in…

So having blocked myself out for an hour to focus on the assessment questions, and answering in just 20secs per question over 100 of them (some very similar) my results are in. My top 5 strengths are:

  1. Achiever — Great deal of stamina and works hard. Takes great satisfaction in being busy and productive
  2. Belief — have certain core values that are unchanging. Instinctively place more importance on the purpose and value than on the rewards that accompany success.
  3. Arranger — Can organise, but also has the flexibility that compliments this ability. Likes to figure out how all the pieces and resources can be arranged for maximum productivity.
  4. Significance — wants to be important in the eyes of others. Independent and wants to be recognised. Gravitates towards people whose work ethic is rock solid.
  5. Discipline — Enjoys routine and structure.

I was a little surprised at how well my strengths played to my role as a Senior Digital Project Manager, but in hindsight I think it’s these strengths that led me into the role. As we all know no-one ever sets out to be a Project Manager.

It was a really interesting and motivating experience to go through, and I will now be looking to bring these things into my own personal development plan. I loved finding out about the rest of the team.

Knowing the different strengths we have in the Project Management team has so much value, especially for our Programme Director, as we can now look to work even closer together and capitalise on each other’s strengths. For example, I know we have some great communicators, learners, maximizers, some with great empathy, and others more harmonious within our team, so all in all makes us a pretty well balanced team, and I always know if I ever need a Woo’er I can probably find someone in the Account Management team :)

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