The importance of understanding your strengths

by Sep 5, 2023

Understanding your strengths

 

The process of identifying and understanding your strengths is an important step in personal and professional development.

 

There are a number of reasons for doing your inner career management work, it is not because the workplace is changing (which it is) but because you are changing too. Our strengths today may not be the same as when you were at the beginning of your career. That is important because it shows a growth mindset where you are constantly evolving.

The process of identifying your strengths is an important step in personal and professional development. Understanding your strengths supports better career choices, allows you to focus on the things you are good at, and make a personal development plan for the areas that need tweaking.

This exercise can also help you let go of the elements that drain your time and energy and if possible allow you to delegate or outsource to someone else.

This is an exercise which should be done at least annually but one many skip. Some go through the process in the context of their annual appraisal but it doesn’t factor in personal goals.

How to identify your strengths

Self-Reflection

Set aside some time to reflect on your experiences, accomplishments, and activities that satisfy and fulfil you. Consider moments  in that “zone” when you felt confident and capable. Think about the responsibilities or activities that you naturally gravitate towards.  Examine how these tasks align with your goals values and vision.

Take some time to think about your career goals and strategy today! Use these career reflection worksheets to structure your thoughts.

Ask for Feedback

Reach out to colleagues, and mentors, even friends and family to ask for their input on your strengths. Sometimes, others can see qualities in you that you might not recognise yourself.

Reflect on challenges you’ve faced and how you approached them. Did you rely on certain skills, traits, or strategies to overcome these challenges? Sometimes, your strengths emerge more prominently during difficult situations. Usually there is a pattern linking your talents which are also related to your transferable skills.

Strengths Assessment Tools

There are various online tools and assessments designed to help you identify your strengths. Some popular ones include the CliftonStrengths assessment, VIA Character Strengths assessment, and the StrengthsFinder assessment. These assessments often provide a list of your top strengths based on your responses to specific questions.

understanding your strengths

Keep a Success Chronicle

Maintain a journal where you document your achievements, moments of pride, and instances where you felt energised and motivated. Over time, patterns might emerge that can help you identify your strengths. Analyze instances where you’ve achieved success, whether big or small. What qualities or skills did you use to achieve those successes? Identifying common threads can help you pinpoint your strengths.

Innate Talent

Think about tasks or skills that come easily to you without much effort. These natural talents can often indicate your strengths although they are not always the ways we want to earn a living. For example, if you’re a great communicator, this could be a strength that you can leverage in various situations.

Passions and Interests

Pay attention to the subjects, activities, or hobbies that you are passionate about. Your strengths are often aligned with your interests because you’re more likely to invest time and effort in areas you enjoy.

Group Activities

Participate in group activities, team projects, or collaborations. Pay attention to the roles you naturally take on and excel in. This can offer insights into your leadership, communication, problem-solving, or other strengths.

Seek Professional Guidance

If you’re having difficulty identifying your strengths, consider seeking guidance from a career coach  or mentor. They can provide an external perspective and help you uncover hidden strengths.

 

Vital Leadership skill

Remember that identifying and understanding your strengths is an ongoing process. As you gain more experiences and insights, you may discover new strengths or refine your understanding of existing ones. It’s an important exercise not just for personal development reasons, but to hone your leadership competencies. The process should be part of an ongoing career strategy and plan.

Leaders who understand their strengths are confident they can deliver. They are aware of what they need to work on and can delegate to people who can support areas which are less strong. These factors all contribute to success and successful leaders attract top talent and build great teams.

 

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Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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