Have you sat through an annual performance assessment process where you were lucky enough to have a spotlight put on your weaknesses? Of-course you have! The performance assessment process has long been a dreaded yearly event, a process that supervisors view as just one more task to check off their to-do list. Supervisors meet with employees to talk about the things they “need to approve on” in the upcoming year, and may or may not connect this message to specific actions that will position the employee for success. Who could get excited about this?
I firmly believe that this is one area holding companies back from truly being successful. You can’t put fertilizer on rotten fruit and expect it to turn ripe again, so why would you try to cultivate the weaknesses of employees? It is disheartening to see leaders who dominate, control and make employees feel bad about themselves. It is so much more encouraging to work with leaders who empower, nurture, and mentor employees so they can be the best version of themselves. The Gallup organization has spent decades researching and understanding strengths, validating how effective a strengths-based culture can be.
The “Why” Behind A Strengths-Focus
In their 2015 Strengths Meta-Analysis, Gallup studied over 49,000 businesses including over 1 million employees for the effects of strengths-based interventions. Overall, 90% of the companies saw performance increases in profit and engagement of both employees and clients. They further found that when managers focus on strengths, up to 67% of employees are considered engaged, rather than the worldwide average of approximately only 10% of employees. When people are enabled to play to their strengths, they feel more successful and motivated.
Gallup has identified 34 individual strengths, and using an assessment will prioritize the list of strengths for each person. It is the combination of the top five strengths that can significantly help you understand not only yourself but others as well. As a leader, this has been invaluable for assisting people in utilizing their strengths and assigning tasks that a team member is naturally passionate about. By embracing a strengths-based culture, companies can establish and sustain a competitive advantage in the war for talent. An introduction to a strengths-based environment can be life-changing for an individual.
Why NOT Focus on Strengths?
The alternative to focusing on strengths is to continue to do what you have always done. How effective or successful has that been for you? If you have already mastered culture, accountability, and engagement, then there is no need to change your leadership style or the culture you embrace. If you already lean on another type of personality or behavior model that is working well, then it may not make sense to switch models. If, however, your organization is struggling with behavior issues, unmotivated employees, and are not positioned for growth it is time to disrupt your workforce in a positive way!
Join Katie Nix (Stambaugh Ness’ Certified Strengths Coach) and I to learn more about how to implement a strengths-based culture.