How to identify your personal & workplace strengths

Throughout your career, you will be asked or you will ask yourself, “What are my workplace strengths?” Either your boss will ask you in your next performance review, or your future hiring manager in a job interview. Whatever happens, it is crucial to be able to identify them.

Now, one’s strengths and weaknesses are not easy to clarify. We tend to think maybe our strength is a weakness and vice versa. It is definitely not the easiest question to answer. After all, we are very complex beings…

Firstly, the absolutely necessary thing to know is that your personality (in other words your strengths and weaknesses combined) will never change. Yes, you still have the same personality as your 5-year-old self. But the way you express your personality differs depending on the context. Simply put, you will not show the same attributes at work than at a party with your friends. Here, we are talking about behavior. This is what changes.

Secondly, it’s critical to understand the difference between your knowledge, skills and your talents. On one hand, your general knowledge and competencies are acquired and developed throughout time, be it at school, university or in your general environment. On the other hand, your talents are inherent – they are what makes you unique and they cannot be acquired. You are born with them.

In result, your strengths are a combination of the three: skills, knowledge, and talent.

This helps us evaluate what our strengths are. Interestingly, one’s strengths are usually more easily noticeable to everyone but you. But, if you pay close attention to your every day, chances are, you will be able to discover them. (If you haven’t already.) Most of the time, you are using strengths unconsciously.

1.Here are different ways you can easily find your personal strengths:

“Focus on your strengths, manage your weaknesses”:

It’s too easy to focus on one over the other. Usually, we focus on our weaknesses and constantly try to find a way to make them better. But this is where there should be a shift of perspective: Focus on your strengths rather than your weaknesses! When you spend your time trying to improve your flaws, you forget you even have strengths…

Recalling your childhood memories:

It might sound a bit far-fetched, but your childhood memories hold a lot more information than you think. Have a bit of time to reminisce: what did I like as a kid? What kind of person was I? Reminder: Your personality doesn’t change! Only your behaviors do.

Shedding light on what ‘attracts’ you most:

This should be easy. What do you spend your time doing? What do you like doing, reading, watching? Examine these and try finding a connection. Chances are, throughout your life experiences, the things that attract your attention the most are intertwined.

Asking the people who know you best:

Easy as a piece of cake. Simply ask the ones who are closest to you: what are my strengths?
It will be so much easier for them to answer than for you. Don’t forget that they see you in a different light… We never perceive ourselves as others do.

 – Surrounding yourself with positive people who will help you grow

This sounds pretty obvious – but the thing is, if you’re constantly surrounded by negative, toxic people, you will not have the opportunity to shed light on your strengths. These people will most likely try to bring you down and focus only on your weaknesses – and we don’t want that.

– Getting help from a professional (coaching and/or mentoring)

This can be of huge help. You can look into working with a coach or a mentor – they will help identifying your strengths in a professional and efficient manner. You can also consider taking personality assessments. As expressed in our podcast by Cara Steenstra, CEO at Zenlinx: “Personality assessments gives confidence for people to explore their vulnerabilities.”

Now, more specifically in the workplace – they are basically your strengths that you have just examined, but in a different context, thus, different behavior. Understanding your strengths also means understanding their impact at work and its consequences on your coworkers.

2.Examining your strengths in the workplace specifically:

– Evaluate your role and contributions at work

Once you take the time to actually examine your presence at work, you will find out if you are performant, if you are fulfilled by that career path, or even, if you are made for leadership.

– Determine your weaknesses without overthinking them

“The biggest challenge we all face is to learn about ourselves and to understand our strengths and weaknesses. We need to utilize our strengths, but not so much that we don’t work on our weaknesses.” – Mae Jemison, American engineer, physician and NASA astronaut

Determining your weaknesses is equally important when self-assessing. As I said previously, it’s best to focus on strengths and to manage your weaknesses – but measuring them can help in the discovery of your strengths, too. As Cara Steenstra, CEO at Zenlinx said, “Weaknesses are usually overused strengths”.

Tip: Assuming weaknesses is a sign of maturity and truthfulness. Don’t ever say “No” when asked if you have any weaknesses at your next interview. You are not perfect – No one is😁

-Get out of your comfort zone!

Simply because, by doing so, you will realize what you’re capable of and what you truly can bring to your organization. That way, you will set different limits and it will push you to be more adventurous. And that will lead to the discovery of completely new strengths!
Now that we’ve been through the ways in which you can examine your strengths, on both a personal and a professional perspective, let me give you examples of strengths in the workplace.

3.Examples of strengths at work:

– Communication skills

Obviously, the employee with communication skills can pass on a message efficiently either through verbal or/and written communication. Having communication skills works wonders even from a personal perspective: it enhances relationships.

– Flexibility

Defined as “the ability to be easily modified” – otherwise means having the ability to change priorities quickly in coordination with the work conditions, or to adapt quickly to new work conditions.

– Self-confidence

Definitely not the easiest to acquire, but perhaps, the most important. Simply, how will you be successful if you don’t believe in yourself? A personal assessment will help to build your self-awareness which will lead to building your self-confidence.

– Teamwork

Working well with others is imperative in the workplace. Team players have the ability to relate easily to others, motivate others and know how to keep the atmosphere pleasant.

These are all common assets at work – and there is many more.

4.Why is it so important again?

“The majority of people in the world don’t think that the secret to improvement lies in a deep understanding of their strengths” – Diana Gabriel, Uncovering and claiming your strengths: the road to self-fulfillment, 2015

Defining your strengths is critical for:

-Personal development

Defining your strengths and weaknesses are so important for your personal growth. How can you expect to evolve if you don’t know what person you are “working” with?

-Self-fulfillment

In order to fulfill your goals and dreams, you need to know who you are, what you’re passionate about, what you stand for. Identifying your strengths also means giving the possibility to expand your horizons.

-Career success

Knowing your capabilities, skills, talents will push you further than the limits you set yourself.  

Put simply, if you wish to be happy, to feel fulfilled, if you want to succeed – you need to assess yourself. Because that’s what you will be working with – for the rest of your life.
Bear in mind: your strengths are things you can leverage on. You will use them to push yourself further.

Only you can identify your true strengths, in other words, what makes you truly you. Only you are in control of your courage to reassess yourself. Assessing yourself will push you to make necessary adjustments and changes – and it will then lead to building a better version of you.

Those who take time to evaluate their selves are conscious that there are no boundaries – only the ones that they set themselves. There is no such thing as perfection – to gauge your assets means to understand that you will constantly grow as a person.

Now, start assessing yourself – understanding yourself – accepting yourself – and never be afraid of being you! ☺️

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