Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working with Catherine Dudmesh, a Director of The Leader’s Forum. They specialise in providing leadership solutions that challenge, inspire and engage us to be the very best. Their approach focuses on positive centered philosophy that drives excellence in leadership throughout an organisation.
One of the tools they champion is a strengths tool that provides measurement of an individual’s strengths and the extent to which these are productively applied at work.
I was very interested to know about the benefits of this strength test, so I took some time out to complete my own strength assessment and the results were revealing, if not surprising.
The online test took about 40 minutes of uninterrupted quiet time. The questions were quite thought provoking and a bit of a challenge. I was asked to complete these as honestly as I could.
The results are broken down into 24 strengths within four clusters: Emotional; Relational; Thinking and Execution. Strengths are defined as those areas that energise or strengthen me. The report identified my top seven strengths.
Here is what I found:
Emotional: I was pleased to see that enthusiasm and optimism were my two highest strengths, with courage being my weakest.
Relational: my strengths were developing others, collaboration and persuasiveness, such a relief for me as a sales coach.
Thinking: creativity and common sense were my highest. However, Catherine explained although none these formed part of my core strengths. Over time you learn to become competent at certain tasks for example, finance and administration, things I do, but as these are not my strongest areas they are likely to take longer and I may put them off – they de-energise me.
Execution: I scored high with self-improvement, my lowest score being results focused. Not a good endorsement for a sales professional. However, I am not a champion of results at any cost, something I’ve realised since becoming self-employed.
So what does all this mean and how can we all benefit from playing to our strengths?
I think that knowing your strengths can really support, energise and enable you to become more positive centered. If you are often in a situation where your core strengths are being used, the benefits will include being more motivated, work better in a team environment, build confidence and reduce your stress at work, which ultimately will have a positive effect on your health and well being.
Most importantly, knowing your core strength enables you to focus on the areas that you are good at, rather than dwelling on areas of perceived weakness.
This test enabled me to realise that although I am full of enthusiasm, some people may find that to be a bit forceful or come across as over confident or even arrogant, which is not my intention. Using my emotional intelligence, I can learn to moderate or “turn down the volume” on these strengths in certain situations or with certain people. Tasks that are not my strongest (administration and finance) are better out sourced to people who revel and excel in detail and analytics. If I am facing a challenge or an opportunity, I am most likely to succeed if I draw on my strengths as this is where I am firing on all cylinders.
Overall, my seven core strengths are; Collaboration, Developing Others, Enthusiasm, Leading, Optimism, Persuasiveness and Self-Improvement, I am looking forward to playing to my core strengths.
If you want to find out more about your strengths, below are some books and links which you may find useful;
Average to A+: Realising Strengths in Yourself and Others (Strengthening the World Series) – Alex Linley
Gallop has a comprehensive strengths test on their website http://goo.gl/LJ3RLn
The strengths report I completed was Strengthscope http://www.strengthscope.com
This is an interesting article published by the Harvard Business Review, How to play to your Strengths – a worthwhile read http://goo.gl/JsWdaA
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