Focusing On Strengths

Have you ever met someone who just LOVES their job? They have great passion, boundless energy, and they get along with everyone. Yes, I know these people and I have the privilege of working with some of them every day at Anchor.

It is a rare thing to be able to have a building full of people who love their jobs and aren’t afraid to let their passion show through in their work. How did this happen? We use our strengths. You use what, you ask? And what does that have to do with people loving their jobs? Let me explain.

Imagine this: You’re in a job interview and you’re rocking all the questions. The vibe is positive and things are going so good that you’d bet your new iPad you’d get the job. And then it happens. The interviewer asks you “what is your greatest weakness?” Your stomach starts flipping, your palms start sweating and that positive vibe has just been replaced with the “how-am-I-going-to-answer-this-question” nervousness. Yes, you’ve probably thought about how you’ll answer this question since it’s become a common interview standard, but why do interviewers ask this question anyway?

We all have weaknesses, true, but why would a potential employer want to know what your weaknesses are? Shouldn’t they be more interested in what your strengths are? I’m not talking about traditional strengths like being a good listener, a good organizer or meeting deadlines. I’m talking about the strengths found in the book, StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath.

Traditionally, employers hire someone and then try to change them by asking them to make decisions more quickly, have more patience, be more assertive, less talkative, etc. But trying to change employees only leads to frustrations and ultimately, a lost employee. Why not, instead, focus on who that employee is and what their strengths are? Why not try to understand where they’re coming from and accept them for who they are?

I’ll offer up my strengths as an example of how we work at Anchor. My number one strength is Consistency. It doesn’t mean doing things routinely (that’s Discipline which I also have – it’s my number two strength). Consistency refers to treating all people the same, whether you’re purple, red with black polka dots, missing an arm, have no hair, the President or the janitor (you get the idea). It’s an innate, almost unexplainable quality that I treat all people with the same fairness, which is probably why I HATE politics, as politics is notorious for favoritism.

Discipline, as I referred to it above, is my  number two strength. Deliberative is number three, which is all about making careful decisions and planning ahead. Number four is Harmony – looking for areas of agreement, and Responsibility, taking ownership for my actions, is number five.

What do my strengths have to do with loving my job? It makes it easier for my coworkers to understand me. For example, if they ask me a question, I will need to think about the answer for a minute – that’s the Deliberative strength coming through. I want to make sure I can see obstacles by thinking about all possibilities, but I also want to make sure everyone is happy (within reason) about the decision – that’s Harmony. I also need to think about how my decision affects the business – Responsibility. It’s a shift in thinking. If they’re not focused on strengths, others might think “why doesn’t she just make a decision already?” But after understanding my strengths, others know that as soon as I get asked a question, my mind is running scenarios to find the best option.

It’s this understanding that creates a strong team. And a strong team leads to happy employees who love their jobs. And happy employees who love their jobs do their best work. Give Anchor a call and let us do our best work for you.