29 Feb Building on Your Strengths
What a joy to learn that focusing on growing our strengths – rather than overcoming our weaknesses – is gaining ground.
When I was a child, the emphasis from parents and teachers was that we needed to overcome our weaknesses, and I carried that idea far into my adult years. Fortunately, times are changing. At least two spheres of influence have been challenging that notion, and I feel giddy with delight for the individual and social transformations this can bring.
Positive psychology strengths
First, the field of positive psychology has been shining a spotlight on 24 character strengths, rather than the traditional focus of what’s wrong with us. These have been grouped under the following headings:
– wisdom and knowledge
Business world strengths
Second, thanks to Gallup, the world of business is gradually moving towards a focus on 34 different strengths (many overlap or resonate with positive psychology). Their emphasis is on people using and growing their top 5 at work and at home. For our weaknesses, they suggest that we learn how to manage them, and partner with others whose strengths complement our weaknesses.
Fitting individuals’ strengths to particular jobs, and developing teams that thrive on a diversity of strengths, is gaining ground. Gallup also teaches that management styles and employee evaluations need to change to foster a different focus.
Hope of transformation
Imagine a world in which each and every individual throughout the life span feels valued for what they bring to the world, instead of suffering an incessant focus on their weaknesses. Imagine the change in unhappy marriages with a renewed focus on a partner’s strengths. Retirement may open a world of possibilities with a vibrant focus on what we do well. And what would it be like if we viewed our so-called enemies – next door and across the world – through a positive lens of appreciation instead of “us and them” differences.
I live in hope, and try to “be the change I want to see”.
Which ones are yours?
Positive Psychology (free – scroll down to VIA Survey of Character Strengths)
Gallup’s Clifton Strengths Finder (cost involved)
Similar to Clifton (free)
Books from Gallup Press (check your local library)
First, Break All the Rules
Now, Discover Your Strengths
Go Put Your Strengths to Work
I’d love to hear from you. Did you have any surprises?