Maximizing Potential through Strengths-Based Development

Do you remember a time when you were fulfilled at work? Where you felt like you were “in the zone” and time flew by because you were working on something that fully leveraged your skills and strengths? If you haven’t experienced this in a while (or ever), then it’s a good time to dig deep and examine what you’re great at!

Not having a clear idea of what your core strengths are or even how to best leverage them can make it impossible to effectively build and develop them throughout your career. In fact, the book The Happiness Hypothesis asserts, “Understanding your strengths and weaknesses can really help improve the fit between your strengths and your job. It also provides insight into why some parts of a job are enjoyable while others may fill you with dread.”

At Softchoice helping employees better understand and develop their strengths is a core element in leadership development. In fact, Morepheus – one of Softchoice’s employee development programs for high-potential employees – has a particular component that helps them better understand their strengths and weakness so that they can further develop themselves and their leadership skills!

Program graduate Kara Ferdoussi shares what the program is all about and why learning more about herself is helping her in her role as HR Supervisor.

1.      Kara, you went through Softchoice’s Morpheus program. Now that you’ve got a good understanding of your strengths, how has it helped you in your role as HR Supervisor?

It’s helped me become more self-aware! Using the Strengths Finder methodology, I now know what my strengths are (Adaptability, Relator, Developer, Input, Positivity). It’s made me more conscious of how I bring them to the forefront in my work and home life.  For example, ‘Adaptability’ has really come into play around the many changes in the business that I support. It allows me to be able to go with the flow and not get caught up in the change but to embrace it.  In regards to Relator and Developer, my goal is to focus on the level of partnership I have with my client group and how to take that to the next level.

2.      Were you surprised by your Top 5 Strengths?

I wasn’t too surprised at what my actual strengths are. But, it was interesting to find that four of the top five fall into the Relationship Building bucket. I didn’t have representation in the others (Executing and Influencing). However, the more we talked about the other groups, it made perfect sense. I realized that sometimes I struggle at taking things to the next level (Executing).  I could gather info (Input) all day long; however, it was figuring out how to use that information to move forward with a plan that I struggled with.

3.      Some development professionals believe that going into ‘strengths overdrive’ can end up becoming a weakness. Do you also ensure you balance your strengths with your weaknesses?

I still work on my weaknesses, Executing and Strategic Thinking, regularly.   I realized that I need to leverage other people who are strong in those areas to learn from, and work together in order to accomplish a goal.  For example, my manager is strong around strategic thinking. Working with her helped me see certain things differently in order to push a project ahead.  Working with others is a win-win for me, as it’s helping me strengthen those “muscles” that aren’t as strong in me as they would naturally be in others.

4. Was there any “ah ha” moments going through the journey of really digging deep to understand your strengths?

My ‘ah ha’ moment was on day two of our Strengths Workshop when talking with the group about what success means to each of us. Our Development Coach Suchitra Davies-Webb helped me realize that in order for me to feel success, whether personally or professionally, I need to be more present in the moment.  Once I started to be more conscious of that, my sense of fulfillment and satisfaction skyrocketed!

5.      Would you recommend other organizations implement a strengths program into their overall HR/Development programs?

YES and YES!  I never really spent a whole lot of time thinking about myself and what my strengths might be.  I think human nature encourages people to focus on weaknesses versus playing to our strengths.  I think we all get caught up in the hustle and bustle of each day and don’t spend enough time on ourselves and how we can maximize every opportunity. Softchoice’s Morpheus training has allowed me to become more aware of how I can double down on what I’m great at and make an even bigger impact!

How do you can further maximize your strengths and balance your weaknesses in your role?  Let us know here– we’d love to read your stories!

About Sharon Beattie

Sharon is the Charity Liaison on the employee-led, Softchoice Cares Board. Sharon is also a member of Softchoice's Business Transformation Team, where she leads change projects across the organization.