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How To Identify Your Workplace Strengths

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/08/30/how-to-identify-your-workplace-strengths/

forbes.com

How To Identify Your Workplace Strengths
At some point in your career, you'll likely be asked: What are some of your greatest workplace strengths? Maybe your boss will pose the question in your next performance evaluation; perhaps a hiring manager will ask in a future job interview. Whenever it happens, you'll want to be able to identify them.

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Identifying your workplace strengths

Whenever you're asked what your workplace strengths are, you’ll want to be able to identify them.

There are four primary workplace strengths. These are the essential strengths to getting work done in today’s knowledge age, where work is interdependent, somewhat invisible, and ever-changing.

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Envision strength

Some people have an “envision strength." 

These folks are visionaries who get energy and solve problems by asking and answering the question, where do we intend to go and why?’ It is common to find these strengths with strategists, marketers, and CEOs.

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Characteristics of the “Envision” workplace strength

  • Thinking strategically: The ability to see past today’s issues and focus on a longer term destination.
  • Setting a visionary destination: The ability to establish a positive future in the minds of others that doesn’t exist today.
  • Thinking inventively: The ability to conceptualize a working solution that can ultimately convert into a tangible product-service offering.
  • Generating imaginative ideas: The ability to see and articulate possibilities that are not purely grounded in experience.
  • Thinking creatively: The ability to offer new thoughts on subject areas that others have not considered.
  • Pioneering new ideas: The ability to create a new line of thought that has not yet been proven in practice.
  • Brainstorming new ideas: The ability to work with others to co-create new ideas and new solutions.

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Design strength

Where the ‘envision strength’ is more subjective, the ‘design strength’ is more objective. 

These folks like to get to the facts, and are well-suited as planners and very good at answering the question, ‘what do we need to do when?’ We often find these strengths in newly minted MBA’s, analysts, planners, and CFOs.

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Characteristics of the “design” workplace strength

  • Analyzing situations: The ability to conceptually break down a situation into parts and understand those parts.
  • Defining clear policies: The ability to establish well-understood guidelines to help groups of individuals work in a unified way.
  • Defining detailed objectives: The ability to create explicit goals to direct the work of individuals and the organization overall.
  • Planning budgets: The ability to establish and control the allocation of resources to achieve organizational goals.
  • Establishing clear performance measures: The ability to create a standard mechanism to evaluate whether or not goals are achieved.
  • Judging performance objectively: The ability to independently weigh evidence and form an opinion on personal and organizational results.
  • Making decisions by the numbers: The ability to make a final choice based upon quantitative reasoning and measures.

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Build strength

Where the ‘design’ strength is more focused on facts and figures, the ‘build’ strength is more process-oriented – energized by how to best get jobs done.

These individuals are energized by systematizing and systematized work. Where the ‘envision’ person typically hates repetitive work, the ‘build’ person thrives on it. You will typically find build people in functions such as manufacturing, logistics, and IT systems management.

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Characteristics of the “build” workplace strength

  • Implement standard processes: The ability to get work done effectively, efficiently, and consistently, using a repeatable series of actions.
  • Implement step-by-step procedures: The ability to get work done using an established set of instructions or checklists.
  • Implement important projects: The ability to execute a planned set of activities to achieve a significant organizational or physical change.
  • Implement integrated programs: The ability to unify—and manage as a group—a series of projects to holistically achieve enterprise results.
  • Implement proven methods: The ability to use well-established procedures to improve enterprise performance.
  • Implement practical solutions: The ability to solve problems by applying tools and techniques that are proven to be sufficient, rather than state of the art.
  • Implement roles and responsibilities: The ability to systematically execute activities through the enterprise’s organizational structure.

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Operate Strength

With knowledge work, this term has a slightly different connotation than it did in the industrial age.

With knowledge work, operators make things happen with and through other people and get a lot of energy from human interaction. They focus on the who. Sales people and good mentors are often very strong in the ‘operate’ area.

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Characteristics of the “operate” workplace strength

  • Building personal relationships: The ability to productively and progressively bond with key people as individuals and groups on an emotional level.
  • Working in teams: The ability to work with others in a way where you subordinate yourself as an individual to better achieve the goals of the group.
  • Coaching others: The ability to help people contribute more by facilitating their personal growth breakthroughs to achieve specific personal and organizational goals.
  • Supporting others: The ability to help people achieve their goals and recover when they encounter problems.
  • Relating to people: The ability to establish a kinship with others, building upon commonalities and deemphasizing or diffusing differences.
  • Communicating: The ability to transfer information verbally and non-verbally to achieve sufficient interpersonal understanding and produce actions.
  • Changing spontaneously: The ability to consistently achieve better results by rapidly and successfully adapting to a dynamic environment.

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"I have strong time management skills"

Time management is more than just completing tasks on time. An employer cares about how you spend the time leading up to a deadline as well.

Demonstrate your strength in this area by sharing how you prioritize your daily tasks.
Using the 80/20 rule for project prioritization can show how you best schedule your time to give your full attention to critical project tasks.

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Trick your brain into calm

  • Become aware of your safety and breathing. Your fight or flight response may be in overdrive. 
  • Take note of five things you can see, four things you can hear, three ...

Using affirmations

Remind yourself how awesome you are with affirmations. Write down affirmations that remind you of your capabilities and strengths and keep them somewhere you can find them if nerves strike.

Another suggestion is to keep a file of praise, awards, and other evidence of how good you are at your job an read them when you are struggling with a confidence crisis.

Get clear about your feelings

Take a moment to really analyze what you’re feeling and strategize for that.

Can you reframe negative feelings, like fear, into something more positive, like anticipation? If not, remind yourself that it’s perfectly normal to be nervous before a high-stakes situation. 

Testing for workplace personality

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Traits and workplace success

Recently, six traits were identified that are consistently linked to workplace success: Conscientiousness, adjustment, ambiguity acceptance, curiosity, courage, and competitiveness.

Each trait may have drawbacks at extremes. The relative importance of each trait will be determined by the job you are doing. Knowing the traits can also aid in personal development so that you can identify your own strengths and weaknesses and the ways you may account for them.

Conscientiousness

Conscientious people are committed to plans and ensure they carry them out accurately. They consider the wisdom of their decisions for the long-term.

They are essential for strategic planning but can be too rigid.