If someone asked you to tell them the top 5 things they were good at, could you? Most of us would struggle with that question. If someone asks the top 5 things you were terrible at, I bet you would give a laundry list. What we do well should be evident to us, it is something we should be practicing every day, but we have been conditioned to see what we do wrong and correct that instead of what we do good and building on that.
Donald Clifton said, “Your weaknesses will never develop, while your strengths will develop infinitely.” So how do we help others to understand their value through their strengths? How do we show them how to move from raw to refined?
I wish there were a bulleted list that I could just insert here, but people and their particular set of strengths are varied. Think about your Top 5. If you were looking for someone else with the same group of Strengths in their Top 5 is about one in 275,000. If you want someone with the Top 5 themes in the same order as yours, then the odds are 33.4 million. With this much unique talent, how do we lead? We lead each one uniquely according to their strengths and not try to put them all in a category.
In our world, today, people are losing sight of their value. If people know their CliftonStrengths themes, then they know their talent DNA. These themes explain the ways they most naturally think, feel, and behave. When you help people tap these strengths naturally in their makeup, they have authentic behaviors that they can hold on to.
If you listen intently to what someone says, you will find a wealth of knowledge in what they say and what they don’t say. You have to listen behind the words. With your focus entirely on the person talking, you can listen to the meaning of the words and then choose how to respond specifically to this person, to uniquely lead them. As Stephen Covey says in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People:” Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
Once you have listened and understood the person and their strengths, help them understand. Strengths give language for someone to become aware of their strengths and have a way to talk about them. Most people know their top 5 or even their full 34, but they see them as being independent of each other. Just knowing what the CliftonStrengths assessment says are your strengths is not enough. You need to help people become fluent in this language.
As with any language, people have to understand what words mean. In the language of strengths, you need to help the person you are working with understand the definition of each of their strengths. I have run into people who can tell me their Top 5 but can’t delve into each one. Though theme identification is the beginning of the development process, it can’t stop there.
People can’t be labeled with just one word. You need to know that if you are an Achiever® that explains the drive, you must continuously get things done. Why what makes you feel good is to achieve something tangible. In the definition on the Gallup Website for Achiever, it says, “Your relentless need for achievement might not be logical. It might not even be focused. But it will always be with you.” Understanding something like this about yourself can give a person not only insight into why they do what they do but permission to do it. Think about that for a moment. Once someone knows their strengths, they may discover things about themselves that they have never seen before, and it can open a whole new world of achievement for them. Help them find this.
Once you have discovered the language and meanings together, look at their lives. What do they do? What do they want to do? How can they take what they know about strengths and apply it to their lives? This is a most incredible and rewarding journey that you can walk with someone through.
Who do you know that needs to better understand their value? How can you use the language and meanings of strengths to grow your team? Let me know in the comments below. Want to talk with me about how you could monetize your strengths or other business-building questions you have? Please schedule your free Ask Brent Anything call, and Let’s Talk Strengths.