Have you ever found yourself stuck in a job you really weren’t enjoying? Perhaps you needed the money? Or maybe you needed to stay for your resume? Or possibly you weren’t sure what else you wanted to be doing?
Several years ago my boss asked me to take on a project I really didn’t want to be doing for a host of good reasons: it wasn’t work I enjoyed; the team’s morale was at rock bottom and; it had already failed twice. Unfortunately, being promoted to the job of my dreams required me to deliver this project successfully.
Desperate for an effective way through this project, I decided to see if working from our strengths – those things we were good at and actually enjoyed doing – would make delivering the expected results any easier.
You see a growing body of research is finding that people who use their strengths more at work:
And managers who focus on people’s strengths experience improved team performance and greater success. Studies have found that leaders who focus on the strengths of employees benefit from lower levels of staff turnover, higher levels of productivity, more satisfied customers, and greater profitability.
Developing our strengths wasn’t a requirement mentioned in any of our job descriptions, but by finding small ways each day to do what we did best we were able to start feeling more engaged and energized about this dreaded project.
There was nothing expensive or difficult in our approach; we simply learned to value and work to our strengths. For example, we channeled our strength of Curiosity to find more effective ways to communicate; we unleashed our strength of Creativity to better connect with people’s hopes around the project; and we focused on our strength of Gratitude to attract more resources and supporters for what we were doing.
As a result, not only did we manage to deliver the project on time and on budget, but we exceeded every independent measure of success that had been set for employee engagement and customer satisfaction.
Each of my team members still describe this project as one of the highlights of their careers. As for me, I scored the job of my dreams and went on to teach thousands of other employees across our organization how to use their strengths at work.
What might you achieve if you – and your team – had could find small ways each day to do what you do best? For more than 70 different ideas to apply your strengths at work grab this free e-book.