Think for a second about your most recent workplace performance review. It probably involved sweaty palms while you awaited your boss’s critique, worried about the inevitable criticism or “needs for improvement”. Maybe you were nervous about whether or not you’d get a raise or bonus. Perhaps you were even stressing about whether or not you’d keep your job.
Now imagine a workplace where you actually look forward to your reviews, if you have any at all. A place that values your unique strengths and helps you to develop skills that contribute to your role, and therefore to the overall success of the organisation. Well guess what? That style of management does exist.
This is strength-based management - a system that focuses on an employee’s strengths, rather than weaknesses - and it’s changing not just the way people work, but the outcomes of their productivity, too. Studies have shown that these employees experience up to 23% more engagement in their job roles. And the trickle-up effect of such a positive working environment is clear. Organisations that employ this innovative philosophy have seen their profits increase by up to 29%. Here’s how this positive approach helps not just employees, but businesses as a whole, and the principles behind how it works.
In the past, a standard 9 to 5 office wasn’t exactly the place to think outside the box and incorporate radical new workplace strategies - at least, not until the dot-com bubble and, especially, the millennial workforce. But those “same old” methods result in a tired and formulaic management strategy that doesn’t allow room for the creative growth of your employees - and therefore, your business. Don’t make the mistake of confusing outward accomplishments with unique characteristics. You might end up promoting someone with no mediation skills into a managing role that requires the very quality they lack.
People are multifaceted creatures outside of work, so why treat them any other way at the office? Ask them what they prefer, where they do best, and where they need help. This breeds a culture of trust and creativity, so that employees feel understood and appreciated. Most people are used to working “for” a job, rather than aligning themselves in a mutually beneficial role. Reworking the angle to be more harmonious results in a happier and, therefore more productive, employee. After all, we’re no longer in the generation when it was common to be loyal to an employer for one’s lifetime. Workers these days move onto the next thing if it’s a waste of their time. Create an environment that fosters innovation and appreciation and you’ll attract employees who want to stay and grow with your organisation.
It’s not just about the employees, but the managers, too. Managers can can make the biggest difference to the effectiveness of any team. You play a crucial role in the process of introducing a strength-based culture, so shifting your own style to that of a coach is essential. Your role will need to transition from one of strict managing to one that, instead, empowers employees - and not just around review time, but on a daily basis, by recognising, congratulating, and aligning strengths. By making a habit of this, employees are rewarded with timely feedback, as opposed to an annual review, which relies on hindsight and therefore wastes time, energy, and resources.
The ground-breaking business book First Break All the Rules reveals that the best managers: select for talent, define the right outcomes, focus on strengths and help their people find the right fit. Knowledge and skills can be acquired, talent cannot. Exceptional managers look for talent in their people and move them into a position where their talents can blossom. They also spend the most time with their top performers not trying to “fix” the weak ones.
Companies as big as Facebook have embraced the Strengths-Based development model and recommend Gallup’s book First Break all the Rules to their managers.
Strengths-Based Coaching for Managers begins with CliftonStrengths® - the most popular online talent assessment - which has now been completed by over 17 million people around the world.
The individual coaching sessions which follow will help the you to understand, embrace and direct your leadership talents using these 3 key elements of the CliftonStrengths® coaching methodology:
Name It: Just taking the CliftonStrengths® assessment gives you an entirely new language to describe yourself in a positive way so your first task is to understand what your dominant strengths are.
Claim It: It is then time to embrace your dominant talents and understand how they can complement and amplify each other. It is not until people take a close look at their talents that they begin to discover the amazing variety, intricacy, and power that they have.
Aim It: Your ability to achieve excellence and get the most out of life is connected to the extent to which you intentionally build strengths from your talents. This is your opportunity to continue investing in strengths to achieve personal and business goals