Why We Need to Focus on Strengths

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Thursday Thoughts No. 15 (11/4/21)

Unfortunately, one of our greatest human flaws is to look for the faults, negative attributes, and areas of weakness in others. We’re hardwired to compare and judge each other—this goes for teams, businesses, cities, townships, countries, you name it, we tend to compare ourselves to others and try to make ourselves feel superior.

As leaders, we need to change this default setting. According to the book “Nine Lies About Work,” when it comes to creating high-performing teams, highlighting the positive in our employees is a MUST. Here’s the data: Ignoring your employees causes a 1 engaged to 20 disengaged ratio. Negative attention is 40x more effective than ignoring people; the ratio of engaged to disengaged is 2:1. Positive attention creates a 60:1 engaged to disengaged ratio and is 30x more powerful than giving them negative attention and 1,200 times more powerful than ignoring them.

We’re leaving enormous potential on the table when we focus on the negative attributes of our employees. Not only are employees more engaged, but they are more productive, more creative, and are better and faster learners when we focus on their strengths. Positive attention accelerates development. I see this in my own children. When I commend one of them for doing something well, they ALL want to do well. When I scold them for their negative behavior, they tend to repeat that behavior.

Action Steps to Highlight Strengths:

  1. Work on your own inner dialogue when it comes to your employees’ behavior. Look for and applaud the positives instead of letting your innate default setting take over.
  2. When assisting an employee with one of their weaknesses, start the conversation with three things they’ve done well or three things that have worked in the past. This allows the conversation to live in a positive frame of mind.
  3. Know, understand, and foster your employees’ strengths. Put them in positions at work where their strengths can shine more than their weaknesses. For example, If they’re more detail-oriented and analytical, put them in charge of the operations. If they’re more big-picture problem solvers the let them be on the creative side of the business.
  4. Make sure the feedback, advice, and guidance you receive highlight your strengths so that this becomes the way you do business in all aspects of your life.
  5. Make your business a positive, strengths-based business and you’ll be watching the “Great Resignation” happen to others instead of letting it happen to yourself.
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Are you asking yourself, “How do I do this?” I can help!

laura.colbert@strategicleadersacademy.com

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