The five-minute management idea: Instant talent-spotting

15 December 2017 -

MBOYBeing able to identify the strengths of others is an important part of being a manager, but being able to spot your own strengths is a game-changer

David Guile

The ‘Dynamics of Potential’ consists of four key parts - the Four P’s: perspective, purpose, performance and progress.

Each part is important in its own right yet integral to the whole to ensure ongoing success and fulfilment.

For the Four Ps of Potential to be effectively realised I have identified three critical success factors that will prove fundamental to successful implementation. They are each important yet can be life-changing and can potentially transform the performance of your team and business if they are consistently applied in equal measure. These critical success factors of Positivity, Balance and Environment are regular themes throughout the book and are key to each part of the model.

The first P within the Dynamics of Potential model, perspective, focuses on identifying and embracing your strengths to discover and maximise upon your untapped potential.

When it comes to developing your potential it’s not enough to focus on improving your weaknesses – maximum impact is gained by leveraging your strengths.

When thinking about your potential and developing it, there is a tendency to focus on what's not going well, or on your weaknesses. However, there is more to be gained by focusing on and identifying your strengths, and making them stronger.

Focusing on areas of non-performance and weakness can diminish resources, drain energy and reduce motivation, whereas if you focus on strengths it motivates, inspires and creates energy and excitement.

The impact that it has can be significant, as by focusing on identifying, practising and refining your strengths you become more productive, more fulfilled and more successful in the things that matter most.

Accepting that we are all different, have different strengths and that weaknesses are part of everyone's character allows you to grow and develop. Think about it, how realistic is it to turn every weakness you have into a strength? Is it even possible?

If you focus on your strengths, what works for you, what motivates you, what inspires you, you’ll be coming from a more positive approach. Focus on what you're good at and what you can do, rather than what doesn't work and what you're not so good at.

You may not be aware of your own personal strengths, or you may be aware of some but have conditioned your thinking to exclude or limit others.

If you are not fully aware of your personal strengths you might not utilise them and, as a result, limit the potential within you, missing out on greater opportunity both personally and professionally.

Remember, before you can build on your strengths you have to identify them.

Steps to discovering your own personal strengths

  • Articulate your personal strengths by making a list. What qualities do you see in yourself? When you believe you can find no more, challenge yourself to find some more. List a minimum of ten strengths and reflect upon and acknowledge each one.
  • Ask others. Ask people both inside and outside of work who know you well and whose judgement you respect and trust. Some of their answers may not have been included in your initial list.
  • Learn from others. What strengths do your admire in others? Perhaps you have a role model or a mentor? Look at their strengths and then think about whether you demonstrate any of those strengths yourself.
  • Focus on the activities that you enjoy and that bring you the most satisfaction. What strengths are you using that come naturally?
  • Notice what you do differently than everyone else. In a situation where you are truly using your strengths you will stand out from a crowd. Your approach will be unique. To name your strengths, you want to identify those moments and note how you are different.
  • Figure out what comes naturally to you. Break these strengths down to identify what skills you are using.
  • Work with a coach. A strengths based coaching approach will support you to clearly articulate your strengths and to build up on them.
  • Go online and take a strengths assessment.

Potential by David Guile is published by Rethink Press. It is nominated for Management Book of the Year 2017/2018 in the New Manager category.

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