We all have personal strengths – those things we find effortless. And do well. But how do we identify and understand them?

Do you wish for your dream career? – that perfect intersection of your personality – where things feel effortless, the ideal role that motivates you and allows you to achieve greatness within an organisation that supports you to shine? Then let’s talk about how to identify your personal strengths!

Here at Facet5, we believe when we understand who we are, what we like to do and how, we create a sense of self-efficacy which can often underpin the courage to do something different, something amazing….like your dream career.

For any job – or career pathway – it’s so important to lay this foundation of understanding. And we believe the best place to start is with our strengths. (Incidentally, this is the first of the four elements that make up the Facet5 career model)!

So, what are ‘Personal Strengths’? And are there different types?

Simply put, we think strengths come in 2 forms:

  • Our innate strengths. The ones informed by our personality. The things we do well. And that come naturally to us – requiring little effort.

And

  • Our learnt strengths. Those that become natural to us over time. Building competence through knowledge and practice.

For many, describing strengths can be difficult. We have long focused on development as a way of mitigating risk, improving self and becoming an all-round better person. But the strengths movement is a refreshing change. It gives people permission to take stock of their inner brilliance and bring this to the fore.

Understanding our Personal Strengths.

At Facet5, we work with individuals in two main ways.

For innate strengths, we start with a Facet5 profile and debrief. This helps create self-awareness – and provides an easy-to-understand language that individuals use to describe themselves and that others understand.

And the building blocks for this language? Your individual Facet5 Key Qualities. Think of these as your golden thread for self-awareness and improvement.

For learnt strengths? We recommend seeking structured feedback to help understand what these are. And how they turn up at work. Of course, there are many other ways – informal feedback or performance reviews, being 2.

All are valuable. And they help create a more rounded picture of you.

Through this, we can also see where we may be over-relying on a particular strength, which can become a risk or frustration for others when used too much.

But how does understanding our strengths support our career?

When we are on autopilot our personality and ‘learnt’ skills tend to kick in – creating outcomes by default. So, there’s a power in understanding our personality and the associated behaviours.

It means we can create moments of choice in how we respond to our work and the world around us. Creating more meaningful or purposeful outcomes.

And our career is no different.

When we understand our strengths, how we like to work, what we like to do and where we thrive, we bring conscious choice to our careers. By providing a language and description of our strengths we affirm our personal value and contribution.

So, here are a few practical steps on collecting and using your strengths – to get started on your career plan

Create a list

  • Start collecting. Read through your Facet5 Profile – it’s full of them!
  • Take the words and statements that you feel best represent you from across the report
  • Look through any other feedback you have received such as performance reviews, talent reviews, customer feedback, development centres
  • Create a list and ask yourself the following questions:
    • How is this benefiting me in my role and how could I use it more?
    • If possible, try to provide an example of the strength in action
    • How is this helping me build better relationships?
    • What do I need to allow my strengths to shine in a role or workplace?

Explore through conversations

  • Explore your list with others
  • Ask for feedback on what they see and their experience. Get as many recent examples as you can
  • Ask about not only the “what”, but how it made them “feel”. We often find our most impactful moments create a positive emotional memory
  • Ask for other strengths they may see that you don’t. Remember this list is infinite!

Think about a Strengths fitness plan

  • While knowing our strengths and how they ‘turn up at work’ is a great start, sometimes we have to refine our technique
  • Create a skills fitness plan that outlines those strengths you would like to practice more and how you can do that
  • Who can you get support from to help guide or mentor you or just to give you feedback as an observer in-the-moment

Create your ‘Brilliance of being’ statement

  • Try summarising your key strengths into a short personal statement – start with reaffirming your value. “ The brilliant thing about my strengths are” …and “they allow me to….”
  • Don’t be shy, in this busy, fast-paced, noisy world, honest statements in your own words can cut through and create clarity and meaning

Start telling the world

  • Review and update your CV by adding your statement to your resume or next job application to ensure others know your potential
  • Add your statement to your LinkedIn profile
  • Add a few hashtags to your posts using your strengths to attract people to your work (just a couple – don’t go hashtag crazy)
  • Use them to describe your contribution to a role, team or organisation in your next performance review or 1:1 conversation

Look for opportunity

  • Make time with your manager to explore how you can leverage your strengths more often in your current role
  • Consider what opportunities or challenges you have on the horizon where you can:
    • Develop these further
    • Use them more
    • Share and build capability in others
  • Importantly use this as a way of informing your next role or move
  • Create questions that help you check how, when and how much you will be able to use your strengths in any new role, team or organisation

Start your own strengths movement

  • Start a culture of strengths – recognise it in others and give them feedback in the moment. When we start looking for the great – we will find it everywhere
  • Organise time with those you work with or a team meeting, to talk about the strength or key quality you are relying on at the moment. Ask them to do the same – start celebrating the great and the brilliant not just the work
  • When we recognise and value others, we are affirming who they are and what they do – there is no greater thing you can do than truly see someone

What other ways have you been identifying and using your strengths?

Grant Gemmell,
Managing Director, Facet5

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