Is Developing Your Strengths Worth The Effort?
July 28, 2015 by VIA Contributor ·
While using our strengths more as we go about our work sounds like a nice idea, the reality is most of us struggle to find the energy and time to shift our focus to doing more of what we do best. As a result, despite our best intentions we get stuck in old neurological habits, with some studies suggesting we spend up to eighty percent of our time focused on weaknesses.
The good news of course if you can re-train your brain to be more strengths focused (if you’re looking for a little help with this join us for the free Strengths Challenge at www.strengthschallenge.com). But will it really be worth your effort?
More than a decade of research is now finding that people who use their strengths more at work:
1. Are happier – studies have found they report lower levels of depression, higher levels of vitality and good mental health.
2. Experience less stress – studies have found they report higher levels of positivity; and in particular the character strengths of Kindness, Social Intelligence, Self-regulation and Perspective appear to create a buffer against the negative effects of stress and trauma.
3. Feel healthier and have more energy – studies have found that greater endorsement of character strengths is associated with a number of healthy behaviors including leading an active life, pursuing enjoyable activities and eating well.
4. Feel more satisfied with their lives – studies have found individuals who are satisfied with life are good problems-solvers, show better work performance, tend to be more resistant to stress and experience better physical health.
5. Are more confident – studies have found that both strengths knowledge and strengths-use are significantly associated with self-efficacy, self-esteem, self-acceptance and self-confidence.
6. Experience faster growth and development – studies have found that positive self-monitoring and strengths building are particularly suited to circumstances when you’re learning something new, something difficult or something perceived as difficult.
7. Are more creative and agile at work – studies have found that the feelings of authenticity, vitality and concentration created by developing strengths help people to better adapt to change, engage in more creative and proactive behaviors, pay more attention to detail and work harder.
8. Feel more satisfied and experience more meaning in their work – studies have found that people who use four or more of their top character strengths at work are more likely to experience job satisfaction, pleasure, engagement and meaning in their work.
9. Are more engaged in their work – studies have found that employees who have the opportunity to regularly use their strengths at work each day are up to six times more engaged in what they’re doing.
10. 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.
What might you achieve if you had could find one small way each day to do just a little more of what you do best? For more than 70 different ideas to apply your strengths at work visit http://www.strenthschallenge.com.
-Michelle McQuaid, best-selling author, workplace well-being teacher and playful change activator.