StrengthsFinder for Development
As of the time of this writing, over 12 million people have taken the Gallup StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment — most through their place of employment. For many, it’s merely an exercise and becomes just another test. Smart companies, however, know how to use StrengthsFinder for Professional Development of their people. They utilize the power of the results to help their employees grow, develop, thrive and progress while improving engagement, retention, and ultimately the bottom line.
What do they do, and how can we learn from them?
Get Out of the Way
First, and foremost, these savvy business owners, managers and HR people know that the key to professional development is to get out of the employee’s way. Yes, people have Strengths and talents, but they have to have the right environment to use them. These leaders foster an atmosphere of growth. They let their people know that they are valuable. They recognize their natural talents and they allow them to “tweak” their roles within the company for a better fit.
Develop a Common Language
They understand that StrengthsFinder creates a “common language” for their company. They can identify people’s talents and potential strengths and needs by adopting specific words and descriptions for each of 34 Signature Themes. By embracing this understanding, they are able to create an accepted standard for the entire workplace that everyone can agree on, understand and embrace.
These powerful management teams make sure that all of their people know the talents and Strengths of their closest workmates and associates. They can recognize them by name, and can count on them specifically as they work together as a team. These words become a way of knowing how to work together by recognizing and giving each person what they need to make a decision or take action within their function.
They also know that there is no place for shame in the workplace. When employees face difficulty in areas of their lesser talents, they help them create strategic partnerships so that they can spend more time doing the things they do best. They encourage transparency in areas of struggle. They inspire collaboration within the workplace so that there is no need to slog through duties they don’t do well and have no interest in while still ensuring that the job gets done.
These management pros know that the results of the StrengthsFinder assessment is ultimately personal. Their people have developed these talents throughout the lifetime of their careers and are mostly “set in stone.” They cultivate personal self-awareness and responsibility. They coach those who they’re developing to see their talents and Signature Themes in action. They help them learn how to “dial down” some talents and “dial up” others to be more effective.
They help them set goals — weekly, monthly, quarterly — around their talents instead of penalizing them for weakness. They don’t try to “fix” them, but rather empower them to work, grow and develop in areas of potential Strength. This builds confidence and trust.
They Coach and Train
High touch, empowering leaders offer ongoing training that centers around talents and Strengths. They make sure that their people understand how to apply their talents, grasp the needs of each one, and can identify what they look like when they get triggered into weakness. They offer frequent coaching — in group and one-on-one. They see the value of developing their people and if resources inside the company are not available, they seek help from professional organizational developers skilled in providing such services. Regardless of where the training comes from, personal and professional development is a high priority.
No matter of how management inspires a Strengths-based culture, the outcome is an employee who feels safe and valued for their individual contribution. They know that their ideas are welcome. They trust that they are safe and regarded as an important member of the company. They have a clear understanding of how they will be measured and they accept responsibility for their own actions, progress and ultimately, their own development. They are happier, more engaged, and add to the bottom line.
Good managers know how to utilize the power of the results of the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment to help their people grow, develop, thrive and progress. Over time, they will see improved employee engagement, a higher retention rate, and ultimately a positive impact to the bottom line.
To learn more about StrengthsFinder, visit www.GallupStrengthsCenter.com.
Rhonda Knight Boyle is the founder of several networking and personal growth enterprises including Women in the Know, Connect & Serve, and Activate Your Strengths. She is also co-owner of StrengthsAssociates, a consulting company using StrengthsFinder 2.0 methodology to foster personal development and professional growth. She can be heard on the OklahomaTalkingCo podcast network and is the host of the Activate Your Strengths Show. You can reach Rhonda at Rhonda@ActivateYourStrengths.com, or follow them on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ActivateYourStrengths. They can also be found under the Twitter handle of ActivateStrong.