Friday, March 01, 2013

Exploring Your Team Strengths

Significant research has been done by the Gallup organization and others on strengths, and strengths-based leadership. 

Did you know that:

  •         People who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job.
  •         Teams that focus on strengths every day have 12.5% greater productivity.
  •        Teams that receive strengths feedback have 8.9% greater profitability.

(Source: Gallup Strengths Center,

How aware are you or your team members about their strengths? Are you able to use these every day? 

Here are some possible ways for you to explore and start using your strengths:

1. Undertake a strengths assessment. Two strengths assessments I usually recommend and work with my team clients with are the StrengthsFinder 2.0 as well as VIA Strengths. Each strengths assessment takes about 30 minutes to complete and are available online.  Reports of varying length are generated when individuals complete each assessments. 

2. Spend time as a team looking at strengths.  Completing the assessment is not  a”be all and end all”. What is interesting and important is what emerges in conversation about our strengths. Whether you as a team dedicate part of a team meeting to discussing strengths or you set up a separate meeting (virtual or in person) about strengths, key is exploring:
- What strengths exist on the team?
- How are they being used?
- How are strengths not being used?
- What gaps exist? What patterns do you notice?
From my experience teams really benefit when they have the opportunity to move through a structured conversation, using an external facilitator to the team.  These conversations can take place in person, or virtually for those teams that are geographically dispersed. When I work with teams on this process, I recommend we spend at minimum 2 hours exploring the strengths and developing an action plan, optimally half a day, or part of a series of conversations.

3.  Sustain the focus - As part of your own team process, check in regularly and discuss  how strengths are being used in the team, and what gaps may be present, particularly if team members are changing. What strengths are required for different tasks facing the team? Who might find it easiest/most rewarding to take that project on? 

Resources I would recommend those interested in exploring strengths are:
StrengthsFinder 2.0 - Tom Rath
Strengths Based Leadership - Tom Rath, Barrie Conchie
Go Put Your Strengths to Work - Marcus Buckingham

Check out my other posts on strengths here at the blog.

What are your next steps to exploring, and using, your strengths?

Best regards

Jennifer Britton
Potentials Realized
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Phone: (416)996-TEAM (8326)

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