For several classes I've taken and organizations I've worked with, I had the opportunity to take the Strengths Deployment Inventory. This is a tool to help you understand your strengths and those of your peers. It's based on decades of research into what makes people successful at work. So let's examine what it takes to identify strengths and how they can positively impact project teams.
Leaders can use strengths-based psychology to create a better environment for success. However, to do this, they must first understand that there are three main components related to engagement:
- Motivation: The factors that drive an individual's actions, such as intrinsic motivation (doing something because it is interesting) and extrinsic motivation (doing something in order to receive rewards or avoid punishment).
- Engagement: The degree to which someone's thoughts and feelings are focused on their work.
- Character Strength: An internal characteristic of an individual that affects their behavior. This includes traits like honesty and kindness; examples of character strengths include creativity and gratitude.
As a leader, you can use the insights from strengths-based psychology to help you identify your team members' strengths and how to best utilize them. Strengths-based psychology is a positive approach to psychology that focuses on identifying and developing skills that make people more effective.
Understanding this distinction between "strengths" and "weaknesses" is essential. Weaknesses are things we don't do well; they're areas where we need improvement. Strengths are things we do really well—things that make us stand out in our field or at work, for example.
Character strengths are personal qualities that enable you to live a fulfilling, successful life. They are the foundation of well-being, and they bring out the best in you as a person.
Character strengths are universal; they are the same in all cultures and all generations. Character strengths give us direction and meaning in life and help us reach our full potential as human beings. They define who we are, what we value most in life, and how we want to be remembered. Character strengths make our lives better today!
Motivation is a state of mind that causes a person to want to do something. It's a critical factor in job satisfaction. It can differ from other factors such as enjoyment, engagement, commitment, and inspiration. Motivation can be internal or external.
Engagement measures how motivated and committed people are to their work. It's a positive, constructive state of mind that allows individuals to be productive, happy, and healthy at work. Employee engagement has been found to have a positive impact on the following organizational outcomes, including:
- customer satisfaction,
- employee retention rates, and
- financial results (e.g., revenues and profitability).
The Strengths Deployment Inventory (SDI) is a tool that helps people identify their strengths and use them in their careers. It uses a five-step process to help you understand how your strengths can benefit you in your workplace:
- Identify what your top 5-10 needs are (e.g., "I want to be recognized for my work")
- Identify what you would need to achieve those needs (e.g., "I need more opportunities at work where I can show off my skills")
- Determine the best way to achieve those goals (e.g., "I should ask my boss if any projects are coming up that will allow me to do so")
When possible (it's expensive), I use the Strengths Deployment Inventory (SDI) (https://www.corestrengths.com/products/assessment/). A less expensive alternative is Strengths Finder 2.0 (https://store.gallup.com/p/en-us/10003/cliftonstrengths-34), which is also available in a book (https://www.amazon.com/dp/159562015X) that includes an access code to the online assessment.
Using these concepts, leaders can create a better environment for success. Leaders should understand that using strengths about individual performance and team performance. Strengths-based psychology is a powerful tool that will allow you to achieve more with less effort and delight people in their work environment. This way of looking at people's strengths will ensure that everyone has a chance to become successful because they will be able to use what makes them unique.
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