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Find Others’ Strengths

Posted by Amy Wilson on December 22, 2009

Finding your own strengths is quite useful.  It can help you find a better job fit.  It can help you hone your development activities.  It can help you sell yourself in an interview.

It’s less obvious that finding others’ strengths is valuable.  But, it is.  In fact, understanding and utilizing others’ skills can be exponentially more valuable.  After all, you are just one person and you can only do so much.  Partnering with others allows you to multiply and broaden results.

Paradoxically, if you don’t know what others are good at, your collaboration efforts are likely to suffer.   You might ask them to help you with something they are not good at.  This will disappoint and frustrate you, taking up time and energy.  You might think they are a weak player as a result and fail to benefit from their unique talents.  Collaboration is likely to break down into conflict or cease altogether.  Opportunity is lost.

This is a bleak picture, but something that can be easily remedied by observing and appreciating the strengths of those around you.

  • Managers, you can help by working with your team members to identify strengths, share these across the team, and promote them across the organization.  You have the power to create an environment of appreciation and value.
  • HR practitioners, you can help by providing strength finding tools to employees and by offering a simple mechanism for individuals to share and promote those strengths.  You have the power to foster a culture of effective collaboration.

4 Responses to “Find Others’ Strengths”

  1. Meg Bear said

    So true Amy. My not-so-subtle objective is to have you do this for me. You are one of the best I know at this skill.

  2. Justin Field said

    One way of finding strengths is simply to recognise good work performed by others. I think that simple peer recognition, done in public, is one of the most effective ways of highlighting strengths, and also giving someone a smile and a really nice day! Justin

  3. I like the picture you selected. A magnifying glass to help you find those elusive strengths of others. I know they’re there somewhere! 😉 Seriously, great point about culture of appreciation. I think appreciation is the real needle in the haystack.

  4. Great post and great comments! All of these actions fit together – when an organization does what you, Meg, Justin, and Laura have said, those actions create a positive feedback loop.

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