“There is no more effective way to empower people than to see each person in terms of his or her strengths.”
This is a quote from Don Clifton, an expert in strengths psychology and inventor of CliftonStrengths, formerly known as Gallup Strength Finder.
The Gallup website gives these statistics for people who know and use their strengths.
- 6x as likely to be engaged at work
- 7.8% more productive in their role
- 3x as likely to have an excellent quality of life
- 6x as likely to do what they do best every day
The CliftonStrengths assessment looks at 34 different traits, but the basic assessment identifies an individual’s five top traits and offers advice about how they can make the most of them.
The benefits of knowing your team’s superpowers.
There’s a great deal of value in encouraging your team to do the Top 5 CliftonStrengths assessment.
- Not only will everyone learn more about themselves and how they can use their strengths to build a career, you will learn a lot about how to coach and develop each person.
- Understanding each person’s strengths means the team can make better choices about the way they work. Tapping into an individual’s strength when it’s needed can make short work of problems that might otherwise have held up the team.
- When people know what their strengths are, it boosts their confidence so they’re much more likely to volunteer their help when they know it’s something they are good at and enjoy.
- It’s much easier to work together on a personal development or career plan when you both know what the person is good at. It gives you the opportunity to position them for success.
- The talents you find within your team will become your team’s superpowers.
Creating your team strengths grid.
The team strengths grid is a way of mapping out where the strengths lie within your team. The intention is to help people understand how they can contribute to the team and see why others might behave or react differently to certain events. It’s about understanding how the team can work together using the talents of the whole team.
There are versions of the grid available online so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Once you’ve found one, ask each person to share their top 5 talents and mark them on the grid. This pictorial version of the results makes it much easier for team members (and you) to understand how and where the talents fit in.
How to use the team superpowers.
When you have the information, how can you use your team’s superpowers to benefit your vision?
- Keep the focus on strengths. Don’t let people lapse back into the ‘I can’t do that’ or ‘I failed’ thinking.
- Regularly talk with your team members individually about their performance and what they’ve done well.
- Plan development opportunities for your team members around their strengths. Give them the best chance possible to be successful.
- Encourage team conversation around strengths and help them appreciate what each person can contribute to the way the team works.
- When you have a project, help the team work out responsibilities by considering the strengths of each person.
One really important thing to remember is that people aren’t just the sum of their talents. They are rounded individuals who have different talents in different situations, so don’t make assumptions about them based on the results of the assessment. This is not intended to label people. It’s simply about discovering, appreciating and harnessing the talents we each have.
If you’re interested in learning more about strengths-based leadership or the CliftonStrengths Finder, contact the team at Athena Coaching and start building your own superpowers.