Using strengths to accelerate your career development
In our latest publication – the Strengthscope® Handbook – we showcase all 24 work-based strengths and describe how they can be developed and stretched in order to become even more powerful tools that can help drive your career forward. We also provide clear advice on using your own unique strengths to maximize your effectiveness when finding and changing job roles.
So, using our Strengthscope® Handbook can help you develop each of your individual strength ‘muscles’ and put them to the service of your career. In this blog, we provide some more general advice on taking a strengths-based approach to developing your career. We recommend three main focuses:
Own your path – many people describe their careers as just ‘happening’ to them (‘well I kind of fell into it’, ‘I never planned to be a …’, ‘this area wasn’t something I was seriously looking at but I just seemed to find myself here’). Our advice is to explore a variety of different alternatives (roles, organizations, etc.) and then pick your career path and OWN IT. People who have made their decision to follow a particular career direction or make their home in a particular type of organization (size, culture, structure) generally report greater levels of confidence, happiness and engagement with their work. Largely because it was their choice to follow this direction. You could use something like Edgar Schein’s career anchors questionnaire to help you find the type of career that might work best for you.
Put your strengths to work – as well as owning your path, it’s also vital to own your strengths – those things that make you…well, you. And also make you more attractive to potential employers, as it’s here where your greatest contribution can be made. So we recommend that you gain a good understanding of your strengths – what you enjoy, do well naturally and have the greatest potential. We also believe it’s worth developing confidence in presenting these strengths and differences in ‘employer-friendly’ language before applying for target job roles. And at the same time, keep working on these strengths – developing and investing in their value, so that you believe, and employers will see, that you have potential to become even more effective in your favoured areas of strength.
Develop career-resilience – getting good at dealing with change (in role, structure of work, organization or career) has become an important skill in today’s job market. A really effective way of developing career resilience is to understand how to use your strengths to navigate change, as well as getting clear on any risk areas that may get in the way of your performance with the extra pressure and stress of transition. So for example, if you know that you can use your Compassion and Empathy strengths to understand new colleagues and build rapport with them quickly, this will give you more confidence to move from team to team, role to role or even organization to organization. And if you know that your Collaboration strength can sometimes mean that you say ‘yes’ too often and too quickly, particularly in the early stages of building relationships, as well as having fewer Execution strengths to get things done, then this should help you keep your strengths in check and in balance when experiencing the increased pressure of a new job.
Our Strengthscope® Handbook is full of great ideas on developing your strengths and putting them in the service of your career. And if you’re interested in developing yourself with some further training, check our career development masterclass – Strengths to Success – for even more ideas on taking ownership of your career and driving forward success.
Dr Paul Brewerton, Joint Managing Director, Strengths Partnership Ltd and co-creator of the Strengthscope® Profiling System