Ok, I Took the StrengthsFinder 2.0 Assessment. Now what?
As an enthusiastic proponent of strengths-based leadership, I often recommend to my colleagues that they take the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment. I also try to encourage them to learn more about the foundation of the concept, by reading First, Break All the Rules and Now, Discover Your Strengths. For many of them, taking the time to complete the assessment is all they’re able to squeeze into their schedules, so many of them end up asking, “Now what?” Here is a rapid-fire, almost stream of consciousness answer that I gave a colleague who asked today.
Glad to hear you took the test. And now you’re asking in what ways can you use the information?
1. Print it out and keep it close at hand to review, should you ever feel underappreciated. This has proven to be most useful to several young women that I have worked with who have found themselves feeling underappreciated. When your contributions are being called into question at every turn, reviewing the report from your StrengthsFinder assessment is a great way to give your morale a boost and remind yourself of the gifts you bring to an organization.
2. Give a copy to your line manager and tell them you’d like their help on identifying ways you can use your strengths more.
3. Use it at staff development review time. Tell your line manager that you’d like to use it as a basis for your *staff development* discussion. Many (most?) managers will focus on the “fixing your weaknesses so you look just like everyone else” approach. This is the opposite of what managers should do to motivate staff, to get the best effort staff members can provide, or to actually help their staff members grow and develop. If you are clear and firm about your desire to emphasize your strengths in your career development, and succeed in having at least half of the discussion based on your strengths, you’ll be doing well. There is a side benefit for women: it has been found that doing the things men do to get ahead doesn’t usually work as well for women; what does work the best is frequently reminding your boss about your strengths and accomplishments.
4. Weave your strengths into the introductory part of your resume. It makes a powerful foundation for discussion. And because the strengths were identified by a neutral, objective process, you can discuss them with less of a sense of bragging. Also, by putting them in your resume, you increase the likelihood that the next position you get will be able to use them more.
5. On completing the assessment, you may conclude that your strengths don’t align well with your current position or organization. I think it is likely that even if your strengths aren’t used where you are now, that doesn’t mean there isn’t an element of the organization where they would be of particular value. Now you just need to work on aligning your position with your strengths – or start looking for a new position.
6. One of the best reasons to take the assessment is to provide a tool to structure a work team by strengths. I keep a spreadsheet with people’s strengths for team building, so that I can partner with people whose strengths are those aspects of a project that I don’t do well.
7. Another approach to team building: put a note on the corporate bulletin board; post your strengths, and ask for others who might want to work together who have the complementary strengths you need. Also, ask the people in your own workgroup – you may find someone close at hand that you didn’t know about. And they may be eager to be able to do more of the stuff they love and less of the stuff you love! They are likely not to know about StrengthsFinder, so you can help them improve their situation just by introducing them to the idea.
StrengthsFinder 2.0 (See below.)
First, Break All the Rules (See below.)
Now, Discover Your Strengths (See below.)
The Myth of the Ideal Worker: Does Doing All the Right Things Really Get Women Ahead? http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/myth-ideal-worker-does-doing-all-right-things-really-get-women-ahead
#1 Secret to Getting Ahead: Communicate Your Achievements; http://thewaywomenwork.com/2012/10/1-secret-to-getting-ahead-communicate-your-achievements/