What are your strengths?

If you have come to my office lately, you would see a list of my strengths on the office door. I recently, undertook the Gallop Strength Finder 2.0 test and received the following feedback: I am a:

  1. Learner
  2. Maximiser
  3. Analytical
  4. Harmony
  5. Responsibility

Nearly a decade ago, Gallup ignited a global conversation on the topic of strengths when it unveiled the results of a landmark 30-year research project. The research concluded that spending time building strengths was far more productive than logging countless hours shoring up weaknesses and it created a virtual revolution in the way people think about their natural talents.

One of the most startling conclusions of Gallup’s research is that there is no one strength that all good leaders possess. What’s more, the most effective leaders are not well-rounded at all, but instead are cutely aware of their talents and use them to their best advantage.

If strengths help define us then it is surprising that so many people do not know their strengths and others do not effectively use them. Research indicates to us that if we can use our strengths, people are six times more likely to be “engaged” in their jobs and more than three times more likely to declare they have an “excellent quality of life in general”. As educators we are all leaders as we lead the learning in our classrooms and school.

Why is this important? Because teachers and schools perform at higher levels and people feel happier and more satisfied when using a strengths-based approach to life and work.

Yet often feedback focuses on our weaknesses and what we don’t do well, a tack also known as a weakness-based approach. Instead of telling your teachers that he or she needs to be more careful and pay closer attention to detail—which, even if true, could be demoralizing—a strengths-based approach would let the teachers know that you appreciate his or her ability to drive learning forward, but that he or she would be more effective if he or she could slow down by 10 percent and pay attention to more details. In a strengths-based approach, we deal with a weakness with a positive spin, which has more impactful. Since the goal is to have the person hear, digest and implement the feedback, a strengths-based approach builds a platform for greater success.

Whether you are a manager of a school or a teacher, you have specific strengths and it’s your responsibility to know what these strengths are and how to use them.

School managers and teachers also need to understand the strengths of the staff and students in the school and place them in appropriate roles/situations. To do this, we need to understand the learning styles and methodizes well enough to know how to match teachers’ strengths with specific learning outcomes and students with the correct opportunities for learning.

Often teachers are disengaged and underperforming because they are in the wrong role or situation, which fails to utilize their strengths. As a result, the individual and school perform at subpar levels. Someone who likes to research all the facts and moves at a calculated pace may be better as a senior manager rather than as a teacher on the front line.

What are your top five strengths and are you using them on a daily basis?

You can identify your strengths at www.gallupstrengthcenter.com.

Once you know your own strengths, you can create a better team with the different domains being covered.Domains-of-Leadership.pngAs you can see I have two strengths in the Strategic Thinking domain and so to help build a more complete team I should look towards other members having other strengths in other domains. The concept should never be regarded as a definitive description of a person, but can be used as a topic of discussion while for making a more accurate decision on the most appropriate position within the school.


One Comment Add yours

  1. We’re so good as humans of recognising our limitations and weaknesses, but identifying strengths are so much harder. Thanks for the post!


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