Strengths spotting

A part of being a good leader is the ability to develop your team and your team member. In order to be able to develop a team member, you need to get to know him or her. One important attribute are a person’s strengths. You need to be very observant to spot a person’s strengths. Fortunately, this can be trained.

I argue that strengths spotting should be part of every leadership education. It’s not only a good way to know what the person and the team as a whole is capable of, but in trying to spot strengths, you also train your brain to look for something positive. This will change you. It will contribute to an improved team climate as you see other in a more positive way and you are better able to recognize and appreciate other people’s strengths and contributions.

There is actually a fun way of training this. You can train it by watching movies. There is even a book called Positive Psychology at the Movies, which I can highly recommend. It uses 24 Character Strengths, which are based on a research article by Peterson and Seligman. You can also take a survey from the VIA institute to find out your character strengths. The book presents movies and gives tasks while watching the movie. If mainly focuses on certain characters and how they showed and lived certain strengths. What I like about the book is that it also acknowledges that there can be too much of a strength. Then it can become negative. As always, balance is the key!

But even without the book you can do it. Just sit down and reflect on your team member. Think about the activities they are involved in and what and how they contribute. Also, how do they interact with each other? How do they behave in different situations? Maybe you can already identify some strengths. The next time, try to be more observant and see what else you can spot.

Moreover, try to spot your own strengths in your daily interactions with other people and how you do what you do. It always helps to know yourself well in order to know somebody else. And please don’t generalize from one incident or observation. Those can be indicators, but in order to be able to call it a strength you need to gather clues over a longer period. This is true for spotting strengths in yourself and in others. So, happy strengths spotting =)


Have a wonderful day and take care!


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