Imagine that someone comes to review your performance and look at ways to improve it, and only focus on your weaknesses and what you aren’t doing well.
Chances are, you won’t feel so great afterwards.
Now imagine that person reviews your performance by focusing on your strengths and how you can adapt them to different situations to get the best results.
Which approach do you think would leave you feeling more energised and engaged?
When it comes to performance reviews, developing KPIs or performance plans, there can be an automatic tendency to focus on weaknesses that need to be improved.
But focusing on weaknesses means you are always coming from a negative space. If leaders focus on these negative aspects all the time, it’s not only demoralising but misses the opportunity to create even more impact through the strengths in place.
Let’s explore how leaders can empower their team members by using strength-based coaching.
Why Leaders Should Use Strengths-Based Coaching
Using Strengths To Increase Motivation
Performance management and performance reviews are key parts of running a successful business. The staff are the lifeblood of any organisation and if they are not performing well, it can be detrimental to progress and growth. Clearly, performance management is something you want to get right.
It is certainly important for management to identify any weaknesses that their employees have, that is causing an issue or are obstacles to getting things done. But not all weaknesses are problematic. And many weaknesses are actually a strength in disguise. Identifying and developing employee strengths is a much better option for creating positive workplace experiences and driving high performance.
Broaden And Build
Positive strengths-based training helps employees to broaden their skills and develop resilience. How? Well, the Broaden and Build method is a great way to view this concept.
In the late 1990s, American psychology professor Barbara Fredrickson developed a theory known as Broaden and Build. She proposed that positive emotions broaden the mind and create new ideas and possibilities.
By allowing people to “flourish” in the workplace, they can be more motivated and productive. But, the thing about flourishing is that everyone flourishes in different ways. Some may be motivated by financial success, others self-development and growth, or others by achieving balance in their lives.
By identifying employee strengths and coaching accordingly, you’ll allow your employees to flourish, creating a positive work environment.
Focusing on positive traits and emotions doesn’t mean you are completely ignoring negative aspects. In fact, fostering positive emotions can help people build resilience to deal with obstacles and issues while also broadening their skills and emotional competence.
The Benefits Of Coaching To Strengths
The main benefit of a strengths-based approach to management is that team members feel more confident, motivated and engaged. People are happier when they are doing things they are good at, and working in a way that plays to our strengths can help us work more naturally.
In a recent Gallup survey, around two-thirds of employees who strongly agreed their manager focused on strengths were engaged at work. But, just 2% of workers who disagreed with the statement were engaged.
Here are some of the ways that strengths-based management can benefit your business:
Better team morale
Focusing on negative aspects can make your employees feel insufficient, anxious and fearful. Not exactly the environment for motivation, productivity and problem-solving!
However, focusing on the positive aspects will increase employee energy and help them to feel dynamic. They are far more likely to be engaged and productive. Overall, this creates positive energy for the workplace, building energy levels collectively.
Better workforce management
When you know people’s strengths you can adapt their roles to play to them. It also allows you to identify gaps in your team’s strengths and either look to fill those gaps with a new team member or offer training to existing staff.
Better team relations
People who know their strengths and are aware of the strengths of others can work together in partnership to get things done. Each team member knows the best role they can play for collective productivity and momentum.
Better staff retention
Engaged and happy staff are less likely to leave or look around for other positions. This means you reduce your attrition rate and keep valuable talent within your organisation.
As well as benefitting individuals, strengths-based coaching can bring measurable benefits to your organisation as a whole. The Gallup survey of businesses using strengths-based management found that they enjoyed increased sales, increased profits, fewer safety incidents and lower turnover.
Coaching Skills For Managers
Is it time to move your organisation to a strengths-focused one? Then, you need to work on some key coaching skills for leaders. There are many different tools that you can use to implement this strengths management approach.
But, far more vital than any tool is transforming your management mindset. If your leaders can transform from a weakness-focused mindset to a strength-focused approach, then you can set the foundation for a great organisation.
Each leader will need to have the intention to concentrate on employee strengths. This will allow their team members to see them as a source of motivation and success, lifting the morale of the team as a whole.
The thing about this strengths-based approach is that it is not a one-off exercise. Management will need to be committed to identifying and developing employee strengths on an ongoing basis. This can be done via KPIs, action lists, or workshops.
How To Identify Employee Strengths
Once a management team has created the intention to use a strength-based coaching approach, the next step is to actually identify employee strengths. There are various ways you can do this. The most straightforward one is to observe your team and see where they excel the most. This free downloadable can help, if you don’t want to invest in a profiling tool.
If you’d prefer a more strategic approach, then you can use a strengths-based profiling tool. The one I favour is Core Strengths. These sorts of tools will identify the positive behaviours that an employee uses most naturally in the workplace. Once identified, you can help them to use these strengths on a daily basis, empowering them to work more effectively.
For more information on how to identify employee strengths, read my recent article on understanding strengths-based leadership.
Move Your Organisation Towards Strengths-Based Coaching
Moving to a strengths-based approach needs to be intentional. You must have buy-in from your leadership team and key players like the HR department who may be responsible for performance reviews and planning. Individual strengths need to be identified and employees should be given clear opportunities to develop them.
If your business is keen to create a culture of strengths-based coaching and development, I offer a range of support. This includes talent development to keep your employees motivated and employee engagement strategies to create a better workplace environment.
Through one-on-one coaching, I also work with individual leaders to identify and improve on their own strengths. It also helps leaders develop their own coaching skills so they can work with team members more effectively and really make an impact.
Contact me to discuss your options for coaching or development programmes.