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Working With Strengths

“Employees who use their strengths on the job are more likely than others to be intrinsically motivated by their work — simply because it feels less like work to them. At the workgroup level, team members who know each other’s strengths relate more effectively to one another, boosting group cohesion.”

Gallup’s latest State of the Global Workplace report dedicated an entire section to building strengths-based workplaces to unleash employee potential. Gallup has been helping people discover their strengths with the Clifton Strengths assessment for years.

“Almost seven in ten employees (67%) strongly agree that when their manager focuses on their strengths or positive characteristics, they are more engaged. The resulting sense of empowerment benefits both the employee and the organization. Employees who strongly agree that their opinions count at work are more likely to feel personally invested in their job.”

In hindsight, the notion of assessing everyone against the same criteria and failing to nurture individual talents and skills seems rigid and stifling. About two years ago, Brilliant Ink evolved its own performance management model to align with and enhance our own individual strengths. I speak for all of us Inkies when I say that it has been a successful exercise!

In working with hundreds of organizations, Gallup uncovered seven strategies that companies often employ to create strengths-based cultures.

Strategies for Creating a Strengths-Based Culture

1. Leadership alignment: Put the elements in place for a strengths-based culture, beginning at the top.

2. Manager alignment: Develop teams and employees from the perspective of strengths.

3. Internal communication: Generate awareness of and enthusiasm for strengths.

4. Strengths community: Make strengths an integral and natural part of the organization’s day-to-day operations.

5. Performance management: Focus development and recognition on employees’ strengths.

6. Coaching: Build a network of strengths experts and advocates.

7. Brand building: Tie the organization’s strengths-based culture to its larger brand.

While these are relatively broad concepts, they serve as a great baseline to determine whether this approach is right for your company.

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Patty Youngclaus