“You cannot be anything you want to be — but you can be a lot more of who you already are.” — In StrengthsFinder 2.0, by Tom Rath. Pub. Gallup Press.
How many times have you been given a performance appraisal that tackles your weaknesses but ignores what you’re doing well?
How many times have you been pulled aside at work and told where you went wrong? Or worse, you get virtually no feedback — good or bad — at your job?
Surprise! It turns out most of us perform better at work and are much happier when we get to use our strengths and are recognized for them, rather than being placed in roles that don’t naturally align with our deepest talents with the hope that with enough training, education or flat-out pestering by our superiors we’ll figure out a way to fit.
So how can we empower ourselves to shift out of these ill-fitting roles?
Donald O. Clifton, inventor of the Clifton StrengthsFinder, thought he had a solution. And the assessment that bears his name yields consistently powerful results for my clients.
What makes the StrengthsFinder work is that it helps you identify your strengths (we’re talking deep, natural talents, not that you type fast or can program a computer) and encourages you to cultivate them, finding ways to use them in your life and your work. What is noticeably absent from the assessment is the idea that if you’re less naturally good at something, a quick course or some focused training will fix that. Or, to put it another way, it removes the work world’s “fixation on deficits” and places the focus squarely on investing in a person’s “potential for greatness.”
If you have often felt like you simply don’t fit in your job, chances are you are not using your natural strengths. It’s also likely that you’ve been pushed to acquire more training, take courses or upgrade your skills, when what you really need is for someone (your manager, or, even better, yourself!) to recognize that you and the organization will shine if you instead get to do what you’re naturally good at.
You can take this powerful assessment online at gallupstrengthscenter.com or buy the book quoted above and use the special code in the back to access the assessment.