Pioneered by the research of Barbara Frederickson, the theory of “Build-and-Broaden” shows that positive emotions increase the number of potential behavioural options. When this is applied in the workplace, it is clear that focusing upon strengths yields much greater performance and results. At The Coach Approach, we encourage you to heed the advice shared by Peter Drucker:
“Waste as little effort as possible on improving areas of low competence. Concentration should be on areas of high competence and high skill. It takes far more energy and far more work to improve from incompetence to low mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence. And yet most people, and equally most teachers and most organisations, try to concentrate on making an incompetent person into a low mediocrity. The energy and resources – and time – should instead go into making a competent person into a star performer.”
It is a well-documented fact that we are far more likely to fulfill our potential by focusing on our strengths rather than on our weaknesses. In the words of Peter Drucker, renowned management consultant: “It’s the abilities, not the disabilities, that count”!
Awareness of our character strengths can be a really helpful tool for building capacity – going from first-rate to excellent. Understanding character strengths is also essential for developing new paths for engagement, satisfaction and fulfillment on the job. Last but not least, this approach can also be used for problem-solving. Experience this for yourself and for your team by trying these 3 simple steps:
1) Identify your top character strengths using the free VIA online test (www.viasurvey.org)
2) Identify a problem that you need to deal with
3) Ask yourself how you can apply your specific character strengths to solving this problem
“The real tragedy in life is not that each of us doesn’t have enough strengths, it’s that we fail to use the ones we have.” (M. Buckingham and D. Clifton in Now, “Discover Your Strengths”)