Rounding out this month’s theme of Leadership Style exploration, let’s discuss: 3 Ways to Activate your Strengths…TODAY!

We talk a lot about strengths-based leadership, primarily because when we utilize our strengths, we have the ability to be more impactful, more engaged, drive more successful outcomes, and generally experience more satisfaction in our lives. The premise, when we pour into others, we fill our own cup, begins to apply.

However, strengths-based leadership can hit the skids when it makes success all about you. Ouch! Is that Stacy’s not-so-subtle way of telling me that the world doesn’t revolve around me? Yes, *|FNAME|*, it is. 

If that seems a little harsh for a Friday morning; I get it. But the reality is, your strengths are relatively pointless unless you put them to use in service of something greater than yourself. Let me explain.

In order to activate your strengths, you first have to be aware of what they are.
Can you name them? Right now. Can you name them?
Can you answer the following questions?

  • What are you admired for?
  • What value do you frequently add to teams?
  • What do people say about you to others (or when you’re not in the room)?
  • What do you notice that others frequently miss?

If you don’t know these answers, maybe it’s time for some self-reflection, self-awareness calibration, and self-assessment. I’ve spoken about my clients taking CliftonStrengths Profiles and VIA Character Strengths Profiles before. If you would like more information on that, feel free to contact me.

However, if you know the answers to those questions…kudos!
What are you doing to activate that strength awareness?

Here are 3 things to try today:

1. Look Outward – Tom Rath, the author of StrengthsFinder 2.0, said “There is nothing more liberating and energizing than getting over yourself.” How can you use one of your strengths to purely move others forward? If one of your strengths is that you are an “Activator“, look for areas that are bogged down by discussion or blocked by debate. End the stalemate by creating a plan to get things moving and spur others into action.

2. Serve a Need – Once you have dialed into one of your key strengths, ask yourself how can I best utilize it now? Attach your strength to your team’s need. What does your organization, family, or community need that you can provide? If one of your strengths is “Command“, find a cause you believe in, and support it. You might discover yourself at your best when defending a cause in the face of resistance. 

3. Strengthen Relationships – People are more important than projects. Relationships are more important than reports. Put people on your “To-Do List”. If one of your strengths is “Harmony“, practice your techniques for resolving conflict without confrontation and model that for others. When two people are arguing, ask others in the group to share their thoughts. By increasing the number of voices in the conversation, you are likely to find areas where all parties can agree. You can draw people together.

Knowing your strengths is GREAT! Leading with your strengths is BETTER!