Podcast Episode 21: Amplify Your Strengths

Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | RSS

In this episode, we talk about the power of knowing our strengths so you can amplify them in your current role, on your resume, and in your LinkedIn and social media profiles. When you know your strengths, skills, and values you’ll have clarity, direction, and increased confidence in your career.

Referenced on the show: 

Gallup Clifton Strengths

We create meaning through stories. Your personality is largely based on the meaning you give former experiences.
Your strengths, your thoughts about your strengths, your values, skills, and beliefs…you use this to create your career narrative and your future career narrative.

Read the Transcript
Hi there, 
Welcome to this week’s podcast. 

This week I want to talk about strengths and how to amplify your strengths. I am a Gallup trained strengths coach and what’s so interesting to me is throughout my year’s in media and agency land, the company would host a workshop, usually led by an outside consultant who would take us through our Strengths. 

These workshops were always collaborative and fun and seemed to be always held on a Friday in the summer. Which gave all the feeling that this was a reward or a fun activity, but not something that we’d be using to deeply revisit our ways of working and improving as a team. 

Before the workshop we’d all take the Gallup assessment to know our top 5 strengths. We’d identify with them a bit and then we’d go about the rest of the workshop thinking of ways we could use our strengths. We’d laugh and throw an occasional eye-roll when we looked at the blindspots in our strengths but we weren’t taught how to manage our blindspots. I mean, there’s only so much that can be done in a half day session. 

Often our team leader would leave the room and “go back to work.” We’d work amongst ourselves with the facilitator. 

Then we’d go back to work on Monday with our list of strengths. Maybe we’d tack our top 5 on our corkboard but eventually we’d stuff them in a desk drawer because we often didn’t understand what to do with our strengths within our required role sort, and as a team, without an engaged strengths coach or a manager who was “all in”, we’d didn’t know how to create positive change in our department by layering and leveraging all of our strengths and we certainly didn’t know how to amplify them to create whatever goal we wanted personally. 

Everyone had the best intentions but the workshop and exercises often fell short of knowing what to do next to increase performance, productivity and personal satisfaction. 

Through my own extra-curricular personal development and strengths exploration I discovered the power of knowing our strengths and how we can amplify them to use in our current role, our resume, correspondence, linkedin profiles, and if you have a personal brand or business they can be used for your copy and your marketing efforts. 

Don Clifton, known as the father of strengths psychology and the inventor of cliftonstrengths, studied psychology and statistics and found that everything he learned focused on what was wrong with people. So he set out to develop a framework for discovering what’s right with people. How refreshing right?

He found that a person’s weakness hardly improved but their strengths developed infinitely. He studied why some were successful and others were not, he discovered that there were 34 themes, or strengths, that allow you to access excellence.

When I work with clients, we start by focusing on what they do well, we look at their beliefs, feelings, patterns of behavior, their identity and then we develop strategies on how to apply them all productively.

A strength is defined as your natural talent, the skills you’ve acquired, the knowledge you possess, and the activities that can provide consistent near perfect performance. 

According to gallup there is a 1 in 33 million chance that someone else will have the same top 5 in the same order.
You are unique my friend. Differences are our advantages when we develop them wisely. When you apply your unique thoughts, skills, talents, and knowledge to your strengths you are going to be able to showcase your unique value and increase personal fulfillment.

There is an interplay of strengths. Think of it like, you are an artist and you have various tools, or strengths, you can use to create your masterpiece.

I’m kinda like the strengths fortune teller or a Strengths Tarot reader. Seeing the magic of how your uniqueness comes together. I look at the blend of your strengths so that I can help you tell a really impactful story. 

One way to know your strengths is to take the CliftonStrengths34 which you can access at Gallup.com. The assessment is about $50 and you could do the learning and application for yourself. If you study, you’ll get there eventually, but it will take some time doing it on your own. Sometimes it’s hard to see your own magic. It’s hard read the label from inside the jar. 

Another option is to track your work, your thoughts, and your feelings over a period of time – usually a week at the minimum and a month a maximum. This looks like reviewing your calendar or reflecting on your day. 

What brought you energy? When were you in the flow? 

What made you happy or seemed really easy? 

Make a note of what drained you and what gave you energy. 

These tasks, activities, and accomplishments are not going to show up like a title or a job description, but they will show up like: speaking, writing, strategy, problem solving, building partnerships, sales–and what part of sales? The negotiation? The close? Knowing that you have the solution for your client? It could also be creating, building from construction to websites, analysis, customer service, innovation and technology. 

This is a great starting point for understanding your personal strengths. You dont have to be good at them yet, but you want to get clear in when you enjoy the work and that it gave you energy.  

Alternatively you could work with someone like me, a strengths coach, who will help you know and amplify your strengths. Knowing your strengths and leaning into them will make your day fly by because you’ll be in the flow. 

You’ll be confident. 

You’ll know how to leverage your expertise to set and achieve goals. Being aware will enable you to authentically speak to your leadership with ease and answer interview questions effortlessly. 

You’ll know how to create a compelling self-review for 360 review season,  and you’ll be able to craft and tell your unique career story, ensuring that you all who hear it, will know how remarkable you are. 
It’s pretty awesome.

And since I am talking about strengths, it’s important to look at weaknesses. You don’t create a strength by investing in a weakness. Strengths and weaknesses are not opposites. If you don’t have a Strength, it just means you don’t have innate talent in a particular area. No big deal. 

And if you have a weakness, or something that gets in the way of your success, there may be incremental improvements…You may not be highly analytical, but you can still learn to read financial statements. You just might not have the same intuitive insight and understanding of them as someone with innate analytical talent. And the development time you dedicate to this is not going to turn it into a legitimate strength.

This is the fundamental flaw with performance reviews. Someone is doing their job pretty well yet there is one area that they are meh or below-average in. And instead of helping them amplify their strengths or finding another way to to up-level we insist on making them improve on the meh area to make it better. What usually happens is they get drained. And stressed. And then we put them on a performance review. 

Look, if you apply for a job as a copywriter and you’re a terrible writer, that’s a problem that needs to be addressed so your performance can improve. And it may mean you need to be rotated to another role or be managed out of the company. 

But if at the core, you are doing a good job, then it’s insane to listen to them tell you HOW to be better. They can point out what you need to focus on, but unless you are confused and you need help, if they start telling you exactly how to do it, I’d caution you not to take it in. 

Seriously. It’s like having someone tell you from their vantage point of view that you should do it this way to improve your performance. 

It’s never going to work because you are not them. I’m here to tell you to be professional but don’t take their WAY into your head. Ask questions. But don’t spin yourself out on how to be better in their way of doing it. Even with the best of intentions, they are really saying if you did the job more like me, it would be better. But it’s their way, not your way.  

If you are a manager, and you’ve been asked to provide feedback, it’s so much more helpful to share with the person your reaction. Something like, I was confused by what you were saying there. Tell the person how you experience the performance but do not tell them how to do it differently. That’s for the employee to think about and bring you a solution. Versus you figuring out what they need to do differently which is only based on how you would do something.   

If you are good in most aspects of the job requirements, imagine if you were encouraged to amplify your strengths versus improve your weaknesses? 

But we don’t train managers for this work. Typically they are subject matter experts and then they get promoted up to lead. From there they are given a few management and development classes, if they are lucky, and expected to know how to lead, motivate, and manage. 

Maybe they are better off as an individual contributor? Not everyone knows how to manage to get the best out of a team. 

I’m hopeful that many of my clients will come to me for this challenge. They want to be better leaders of their teams. 

And, we look at their strengths and figure out how they can leverage their talents to tackle the task. 

It may even mean stacking the department differently and empowering other team members to take on leadership roles. It’s not a one size fits all. 

Let’s say you are a leader of a marketing department, a way to look at it is like a chess game, not checkers. In checkers we expect everyone to do the same thing at their level in their role. Looking at the department more like a chess game is deploying an understanding of when to bring in the power of someone’s individual strengths, and stacking all the players on the board in order to achieve the goal.

Few managers have the time nor the ability to identify what you are really good at and then setting you and the department up for success. 

Again, this is where strengths come in. If you are able to articulate what you are really good at and you are able to help your manager understand how to best leverage your strengths, you’ve created a winning situation. 

We can also make sure more managers are trained in identifying and talent-mapping strengths so that they are interested in knowing what you are really good at and removing barriers for you. 

Using your strengths decreases stress, increases quality, productivity, and engagement in your work. People who use their strengths at work are three times more likely to say they have a good quality of life, they feel good about their contribution and have a higher confidence, and six times more engaged at work, according to Gallup research.

Not using them creates low self confidence, confusion, things seem hard, not in your flow, imagination decreases, frustration and conflict arises. When we keep trying and striving for something that doesn’t really work for us, or could be identified as a weakness you are probably going to feel a bit burnt out, you may have a loss of confidence and purposefulness, and you are probably tired. Even exhausted.

If you believe your past is bigger and brighter than your future you’ll start to lose meaning and purpose.

We create meaning through stories. Your personality is largely based on the meaning you give former experiences.
Your strengths, your thoughts about your strengths, your values, skills, and beliefs…you use this to create your career narrative and your future career narrative.

Here’s another tip. Look at your resume. Find two or three experiences that could be woven and retold to connect your strengths to your experiences. 

You start to draw out the stories that really amplify your strengths and help tell your career narrative.  

When you know your strengths, skills, and values you’ll have clarity, direction, and increased confidence in your career.

When you intentionally shape your beliefs and your career narrative you get to build your identity and design the future you want.

Whether you are looking for a job, or you want to create your own business, knowing how to Amplify Your Strengths will help you find the right employer, clients, and customers. And you’ll discover what makes you unique and how you’re wired so you can create a bigger and brighter future.

So who’s helping you get there? If you are looking for support check out my website jillgriffincoaching.com. I’d be honored to help you know your strengths so you can amplify your career. 

Ok my friends. Until next time.

Follow @jillGriffinOfficial on Instagram daily inspiration.

Tune into The Refresh Your Career Podcast Available on all streaming apps. https://jillgriffin.buzzsprout.com/