Sharpen Your Strengths

We all spend enough time improving upon our weaknesses; what if we added more focus to celebrating our talents?

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all focused on what we’re really good at instead of constantly trying to improve upon our weaknesses?   

Let me take you back a few years. I remember crying – yes, crying – at my desk before a Google Analytics meeting I was supposed to lead. The stress of not understanding any of the terminology or how to connect the millions of numbers, charts, and graphs to the brand’s performance – paired with the plethora of other editorial tasks I had on my plate – took me over the edge. I knew I wasn’t good at it. I knew I didn’t like it. But I knew it had to be done. So, I continuously invested in learning all I could about keywords, page views, organic searches, and sessions; I scheduled one-on-ones with in-office experts; and even attended late-night Mediabistro courses. I was spending so much time on my shortcomings (and not getting very far) and not enough time developing my strengths. 

Today, I’m in a better place with GA thanks to our designated web, newsletter, and social media analytics guru. Each month, Kelsey gathers all the important info, dissects it, and presents it, layman’s style, to me and Anya. No more pre-meeting stress cries. And our traffic, followers, and clicks have increased dramatically under Kelsey’s direction. Because she’s good at it and she keeps getting better. This gives me time and energy to fine-tune what I do well: writing, editing, public speaking, managing a team, networking, brand building, etc.

This concept of strengths-based work is from StrengthsFinder 2.0, compiled by Gallup and Tom Rath. The team of Gallup scientists’ studies indicate that “people who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs.” And if you, as a manager, primarily focus on your employees’ strengths, the chances of them being actively disengaged are only one percent.

As part of a team building exercise, our team read the book, took the 30-minute test, and learned our top five talents. Then we discussed how to best work with each other’s strengths and made changes to daily tasks based on what we learned about ourselves. Out of Gallup’s 34 aptitude themes, my strengths are: communication, woo, empathy, harmony, and competition. Right up my alley.

When you and your employees tap into what you’re naturally good at, job satisfaction, work performance, and team cohesion can soar. When you hone in on imperfections day in and day out, it can quickly lead to mental exhaustion and burnout. What strengths do you and your staff members excel in that are being underutilized? If there’s a task you dread, maybe it’s an opportunity for someone else in your shop to shine. Don’t let untapped talent go to waste.

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