“We don’t even know how strong we are until we are forced to bring that hidden strength forward. In times of tragedy, of war, of necessity, people do amazing things. The human capacity for survival and renewal is awesome.” ~Isabel Allende
Strengths are what drive us through difficult times and can provide a large amount of success in our professional lives. Often, in our professional lives, we focus our efforts on weaknesses. I wanted to understand my strengths, so I choose to leverage a strengthfinders assessment. The assessment looks for reliable connections in five areas. My most intriguing strength area was individualization, which I did not understand until I dug into the definition. (1) Quickly I made the association. Here is a summary of this trait:
People who are exceptionally talented in the Individualization theme are intrigued with the unique qualities of each person. They have a gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together productively. They distinguish the fine points of each person’s contribution to a conversation… (1)
Finding an individual’s character strengths is mutually advantageous. The process of finding the strength and leveraging the power of this strength can be equally exciting. For some groups, it may be thought of as a disadvantage to focus too much on individuals. But appreciating individual character doesn’t mean we lose order in society but that we combine the individuality of each person to build improved ideas, products, and services. The individualization trait can be used as an asset in leadership in the following ways.
- Building Collaborative Teams – By acknowledging each person’s strength, knowledge, or personality, a leader can create a rounded team that uses the best in each person to succeed and collaborate.
- Encouraging Inclusion – Most people, not all, enjoy sharing or speaking about themselves. Allowing the team to show their talents and strengths, the leader includes each member. The act of inclusion improves employee engagement and is said to enhance team outcomes.
- Leveraging Thought Diversity – Thought diversity can generate creative products and solutions.
As Isabel Allende stated, strengths will get us through tough times and show our capacity to survive. But why not display our strengths in good times so we can reveal our ability to thrive.
Consider these thoughts on how to leverage the strength of individualization. Please share comments as you see fit. An interactive audience enables learning for us all.