This is the fifth blog post of a series written by our guest blogger Laura Sly.
In the first part of this series, I described the “missing piece” for most people when they’re thinking about how to feel happier at work, or looking for a new job. I called the post How to Find a Job you’ll Love (that will love you back). This missing piece is knowing your “strengths”. Knowing your strengths means that you are better equipped to enjoy your current role more; or to make a wise choice about your next one.
To recap, strengths are more than what you are simply good at (I’m sure you can think of things you are good at that bring you little joy!).When you’re using your strengths you feel good. “Good at and good for you” is an easy way to remember this. They are integral to your personality and so work differently to skills you have learned along the way. They are part of who you are, and energise you when you use them effectively.
So far, in this series, we’ve looked at compassion, optimism and critical thinking. Let’s use the strength of results focus this time to explore how knowing and managing your strengths equips you to love your job more (and how it will show you more love in return):
If results focus is one of your significant strengths you will be energised by situations where you need to keep a strong sense of focus on results, driving tasks and projects to completion. When a project is dragging or on a tight timeline, you come into your own: you convey a sense of urgency, stay focused on the outcome, and resolve problems as they come up; and the more energised you become.
Chances are that if results focus is one of your key strengths, you will also spend some time contemplating how other people seem to get so easily distracted and lose sight of the goal or are slow to deal with issues that mean the project is losing pace.
You feel good about yourself when you’re using your results focus strength. This is important to know.
Look for opportunities to use your results focus strength regularly. Look ahead to the next 3-6 months and identify opportunities to move things forward, consider the resources you’ll need; and risks that you can plan to mitigate. You could offer to help an individual or team to get “unstuck” or regain focus if they are getting bogged down, scattered, or have lost a sense of urgency. Consider tasks and projects where you have agreed targets, timelines and standards and see if you can “stretch” these to provide greater challenge and pace, whilst keeping the quality.
A role that includes aspects of project management might be right up your street!
Organisations and teams can’t get enough results focus, right? Well…from what we know about strengths, they can! Effective use of strengths so that they work for you and others includes knowing when enough is enough. Because our strengths often become our “default” setting, we often overuse them – too intensely and/or in the wrong situation.
Let’s see how this plays out with results focus. In overdrive, important parts of ensuring ongoing success may be missed in the “rush” for results. It could be that time to reflect is given no value, and opportunities for learning and improving things for next time are missed. Another risk is that the “people part” gets lost – have people been truly engaged and involved or are they parts of a machine? Are people rewarded and recognised at the completion of a project, or is it straight on to the next thing?
The good news is that keeping any eye on how, when, and why you are using your strengths means that you can get the balance right. When are they working for you and others – and what are your warning signs that it’s all out of whack? Learning to use your strengths mindfully and effectively will have an immediate impact on how much you love your job (and how much it loves you back). Try it! Try it in your current role; or look for a new role which gives you greater opportunities to use your strengths.
Laura Sly works with individuals and organisations to help them improve wellbeing as well as performance. One way she does this is by sharing simple tools (including Strengthscope®) that identify people’s strengths, and exploring ways to use them more effectively. Her “significant 7” strengths are: Compassion, Detail Orientation, Developing Others, Emotional Control, Empathy, Self Improvement, Strategic Mindedness
firstname.lastname@example.org @lausly www.ylsltd.com
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