If I asked you to name your strengths, what would you answer? The majority of people are reluctant to talk about their strengths and many do not even know what they are. According to Professor Alex Linley (2008), “a strength is a pre-existing capacity for a particular way of behaving, thinking, or feeling that is authentic and energising to the user, and enables optimal functioning, development and performance” The strengths concept is so central to positive psychology nowadays, that the knowledge and utilisation of one’s strengths is considered to be one of the most direct routes to personal and professional fulfilment.
Research indicates that top achievers know their capabilities and set their goals slightly above their current level of performance, whereas low achievers are unaware of their abilities and often set unrealistically high goals. Essentially, top achievers build their personal lives and careers on their talents and strengths. They learn to recognise their talents and develop them further. They find the roles that suit them best and they create ways to apply their talents and strengths in their lives. As far as weaknesses are concerned, they manage rather than develop them.
Research shows that simply identifying your strengths leads to higher well-being. Using your strengths at work leads to higher engagement and performance.
The 50 strengths in the pack are a synthesis of all existing approaches to strengths classification and cover the full scope of our current scientific knowledge about strengths. As our Strengths Cards are available in multiple languages, please check the quantity and language selection carefully when ordering.
Simply anyone! Coaches, trainers, psychologists, therapists, youth workers, teachers, managers, HR specialists and curious individuals around the world are using our Strengths Cards.
So how can you use these cards to identify, develop and use your strengths to the max? Some sample activities are suggested below that can be carried out in one-to-one conversations and sessions, within a family circle, with friends, and of course, in many training and team building situations. These activities are written with the end-user in mind, so if you are a coach, trainer or a therapist, please note that by “you” we could also mean “your client”.
In groups of between 5 and 8, looking at the cards in front of you, pick three that you consider to be your top strengths. Have a brief look at the description and strengths questions on the back to guide you. Introduce yourself to the group giving concrete examples of using these strengths (not just “I think I am a creative person”). Each member of the group takes turns to do the same.
Next, identify one or more other strengths for other people in the group, giving concrete examples of when you saw them using this strength. This exercise is contagious; you will see the whole group identifying strengths for each other within minutes. It can be quite emotional as well.
Using strengths in recruitment
Hand the Strengths Cards to the candidate or spread them out on the table. Ask the candidate to pick up between 3 and 5 cards that feel the most authentic to them, and to provide some examples of using these strengths in their previous professional or voluntary activities.
Using strengths in a professional review
Explain the approach to the employee. Hand the Strengths Cards to them or spread them out on the table. Ask them to pick up between 3 and 5 cards that represent their key strengths. Discuss strengths deployment in their current position and/or professional progression. Discuss ways forward (another meeting, a strengths test, job crafting). Examples of questions to use:
– Imagine an ideal working day/week. How would your strengths express themselves?
– In which tasks do you use your strengths the most? How can these be made more significant?
– How do your strengths match the needs of your team, department, company?
– How can your professional progression allow you to use more of what you are good at?