Recently at work, the CEO gave me a copy of Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath and asked me to read through it and take the online test. He noted that several of the other individuals that work in the company have taken it and have been very pleased with the results.
I gave the introduction to the book a read and I was impressed. The strategy that this book suggests is not discovering and mitigating weaknesses, but finding and capitalizing strengths. While at first glance, this seems to be the same idea (and it basically is), the key difference is that coaching on an individual’s strengths is a more postive management techinque and is more likely to have positive effects. This is because psychologically to the employee, working on a positive trait just feels better. The book does note that you cannot completely ignore weaknesses – they should be addressed, and you may have to work in an area of weakness, work cannot always be shuffled to only be in your wheelhouse.
I took the test, quite interested in discovering what it was going to tell me.
My top five strengths are:
Now you’re asking – what do these mean? Very generally, these strengths mean:
- Learner – I have a great desire to learn and want to have continuous improvement
- Responsibility – I take psychological ownership of what I do.
- Restorative – I like to solve problems.
- Input – I like to collect and archive information.
- Arranger – I like to organize resources into the most productive arrangements.
The test also gives more in-depth discussions about these strengths, as well as action plans on how to maximize their usefulness in my work.
When I recieved the results and read the basic descriptions, it was very clear to me that 1,2,&3 were clearly me. 4&5 Seemed off. I read more about them. Yes, they’re me, very much so. Was this useful to me? Yes. Did it tell me anything I didn’t already know? Not really. Did it give me some insight on how to do better at my job by focusing on these strengths? Absolutely.
I think this is an excellent tool (much like the DiSC profile that I completed in the first year of the CMA SLP program) that should be viewed as such. It is not the be-all end all of management tools. Using these tests, along with other tools can help to better understand yourself and the people you work with.