Give and Take

The path from interdependence to success

A Better Way to Discover Your Strengths

If you want to recognize your strengths, you need other people to hold up a mirror. Read More

Performance Feedback not Strengths: missed point

While interesting to consider (friends writing stories), what you are describing isn't strength finding by definition.

What you are requesting is performance feedback. Performance feedback can only be found in the form of an evaluation such as you describe.

Performance feedback is different from strengths.

Strengths are things that we do that energize us and that we feel good about. Strengths can only be found from within.

Please read Marcus Buckingham, STANDOUT, to understand this topic more thoroughly. Then come back and write another article as I would enjoy your thoughts after reading his work.


Thank you for the feedback. In response to your comments:

(1) What I described in the article is not performance feedback. Performance feedback is an evaluation of one's contribution to the organization, not an evaluation of one's capabilities and talents. For a thorough review, see the Kluger and DeNisi (1996, Psychological Bulletin) meta-analysis of the feedback literature, which is hyperlinked in the blog entry.

(2) Your definition of strengths doesn't match how the concept is understood in psychology. Something that "energizes us" and that "we feel good about" is an interest or passion, not a strength (see Gagne & Deci, 2005, Journal of Organizational Behavior; Vallerand, 2008, Canadian Psychology). It also doesn't align with commonsense usages of the term "strength". The Merriam-Webster dictionary, for example, defines a strength as a "capacity"-- in other words, a strength falls under abilities, not motivations.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

Adam Grant, Ph.D., is a professor at Wharton and the author of Give and Take.


Subscribe to Give and Take

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.