Can you name your top five strengths -- you know those things you're good at and actually enjoy doing at work? If you struggled, you're not alone.
It's estimated two-thirds of women have no idea what their strengths are. Yet studies suggest when we have a chance to do what we do best each day -- even just for small moments -- we're more engaged, more productive and have higher levels of well-being when it comes to our jobs.
How does this work?
"It turns out thriving at work is less about the how we perform the tasks that have been assigned to us and more about being able to express who we are through the work that we do so it feels engaging and meaningful," explained Dr. Donna Mayerson, a leading coach and Director of Applied Practice at the VIA Institute, when we recorded this podcast about practical strategies to help women thrive at work.
Given that our character strengths help us identify not just what we can do but also what we like to do, Mayerson suggests they offer a useful framework to help us understand why we're not thriving at work and what we can do to improve our experiences.
Here are three approaches Mayerson recommends trying on the podcast:
- Craft your job around your strengths -- Don't take your job description at face value, think about ways you can use your strengths to make completing the assigned tasks more effective, engaging and enjoyable. Get clear on what you want to achieve at work and think about how you're strengths could help you navigate from here to there. Then put them into practice and notice what happens when you put your soul to work.
- Understand the value of your strengths -- Commonly expressed strengths for women include love, kindness, perspective, open-mindedness and judgment but will these make you look "too soft" at the office? In the new economy where relationships have become the heartbeat of business, global research is finding both men and women now see the bottom-line value these unique strengths are capable of delivering.
- Be mindful of balancing your strengths -- We become out of balance with our strengths when we underplay or overplay specific strengths in particular situations. For example, many women underplay their strength of love when it comes to turning it inward and making sure they're caring for themselves, as well as everybody else. In addition, some women overplay their strength of love when they don't provide enough space for others to find their own path forward. Notice when your using your strengths but it doesn't feel great or you're not getting the results you want -- how can you balance this strength better?
Of course one of the best places to start is simply discovering what your strengths are so if you struggled with the first question take the free survey at www.viame.org.
This article first appeared at www.womensagenda.com.au.
Follow Michelle McQuaid on Twitter: www.twitter.com/chellemcquaid