What if leaders focus their energy on developing their employees' strengths?
What if, instead of trying to fix their weaknesses, managers encouraged their team members to do more of what they are great at?
Research clearly demonstrates that we grow most when we use our strengths, not weaknesses. Evidence shows that:
“When people are encouraged to develop their talents productivity increases by one and a half times and engagement enhances by six times; two metrics that significantly impact employee retention. Conversely, when managers primarily focus on weaknesses, chances to perform poorly soar by a whopping 20 times.”
In light of such compelling data, it’s hard to believe that so few managers and organisations adopt a strengths-based approach. In order to adopt this approach, it’s important to understand what strengths are: strengths are a particular way of behaving, thinking or feeling that is deeply energising and authentic. We feel highly energised and engaged when we use our strengths. In other words, strengths in action strengthen us. They are like superpowers that build our capability. Most importantly, strengths can be developed exponentially.
There are several techniques you can use to develop a strengths-based organisation:
- Tune into your employees’ body language when they are talking about their work. Do you see their eyes light up when they talk about something, or are they drawn to particular areas of their role?
- Build a strengths-based common language across your organisation. You can use strengths assessment tools like the VIA Character Strengths or Strengths Profile, being mindful that these tools are great to build awareness, not to ‘pigeonhole’ people into certain ways of behaving.
- Provide strengths-based training to all employees to build their self-awareness and understanding of strengths.
- Lastly, and importantly, provide leadership training for executive and emerging leaders.
At The Oranges Toolkit, we’re passionate about developing leadership capacity in the area of strengths. That’s why we have developed Leadership Strengths Workshops to complement the strengths module of the flagship Oranges program. The Leadership Strengths Workshop is specifically designed to increase consciousness and appreciation, enabling more frequent and intentional use of strengths. As a result, these leaders enhance their capacity to recognise the best in people and collaborate more effectively.
Motorola Solutions’ engaged The Oranges Toolkit to run the Leadership Strengths Workshop after a successful launch of the flagship Oranges program. Steven Crutchfield, CEO of Motorola Solutions, believes that:
“In the 21st century, collaboration is quickly replacing hierarchy. Teams who understand and play to each other’s strengths will not only get the best out of each other, they will outperform their competitors. That’s why we are integrating a strengths-based approach in our organisation.”
The Strengths Workshop was designed by Michel Gomberg, a change catalyst with extensive business and leadership experience in global corporations such as The Coca-Cola Company. Michel is an accredited coach who graduated with a Master of Positive Psychology from Melbourne University with Honours.
If you’re interested in bringing the Leadership Strengths Workshop to your organisation, contact us.