Terri Hughes Blog

Harness your Hidden Strengths

Posted on Sunday, June 29, 2014

I’m a big believer in working from a strengths-based perspective with my clients – because when we focus on strengths we are more open to looking at ourselves in new ways to make positive change.  It’s the strengths that can help us make those changes.

While it may seem obvious to be able to recognize and lead with strengths, I find people tend to focus primarily on weaknesses instead of maximizing strengths… and when leaders can truly understand their strengths, they are better able to mitigate their weaknesses and to better surround themselves with people who have strengths they don’t.

The Power in Knowing your Strengths

John (in his late 40's) learned that his leadership position was eliminated in a company where he assumed he would stay until retirement. Where would he go? How could he start over?  We decided to focus on John’s strengths and opportunities.

We discovered important aspects of John’s source of job satisfaction. Although his educational background was engineering, he was good at interacting with customers and vendor partners, a relatively small part of his former job. How could he leverage that skill more intentionally?

He found an opportunity with an engineering firm in need of better communication with customers and vendors. He was able to expand the position for himself and it became the dream job for him. His new role included a primary focus on building customer relationships—a big win for both John and his new company.

Discovering strengths through feedback

Make a list of your strengths as you see them, and ask a colleague to check the ones he or she would agree with and to add or subtract from the list.

Ask a colleague, “If you were to pick one aspect of my leadership that I could maximize or change that would make the biggest positive difference for me, what would you suggest?”

Important questions to address: 

  • Do you know your strengths and how you are using them?
  • How do your strengths impact your relationships?
  • What kinds of feedback do you ask for?  And how do you respond?

These exercises can raise your level of awareness and help you make important simple shifts.


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