How To Identify Your Key Strengths in the Workplace
Understanding your strengths in the workplace is an important part of being self-aware and taking control of your career. Knowing your strengths and how to grow them can help you find a line of work that you will enjoy while also enabling you to hone your skills in the areas most relevant to your career path. By reflecting on your strengths and analyzing how you can use them in your day-to-day life, you can make career choices that better enable you to succeed and continue cultivating those strengths.
In this article, we review the steps you can take to identify your strengths at work and apply those strengths to advance your career.
Why should you practice identifying your strengths?
You should regularly practice identifying your strengths to recognize the environments that help you thrive and seek out those situations. Your skills, personality traits and experiences all contribute to your strengths in different areas and could make you better suited for some professions or work environments than others. Even if you already feel that you understand your strengths, practicing writing them down and analyzing them can improve the quality of your reflections and provide insight into how you can use those strengths.
Identifying your strengths can be challenging because it requires you to assess your skills from an outside perspective. Understanding your values, strengths and interests is often a lifelong process, and practicing self-reflection is a great way to deepen your self-awareness and consider how others benefit from your different traits. People's strengths can also develop over time, so it is important to think about your strengths periodically to track improvements and recognize new interests.
How to identify your strengths at work
In order to recognize your strengths and understand how they influence your work, you have to spend time collecting information about when and how you succeed. There are many different methods for learning about your strengths, and it is important to research them from a variety of perspectives so that you can effectively apply those strengths in various workplace scenarios. Use these steps as a guide for identifying your strengths at work:
Listen to feedback.
Consider your passions.
Pay attention to when you are most productive.
Ask others directly.
Take a personality test.
Seek out new experiences.
1. Listen to feedback
You can develop a more accurate self-perception by listening to what others have to say about you and your work. One of the most reliable sources for what you do best is the opinions of people who work with you regularly. Pay attention when coworkers mention your positive traits and give you feedback about your work performance. Think about what aspects of your work receive the most compliments and determine which personality traits or skills allow you to complete those tasks.
2. Consider your passions
When you enjoy doing something, it is often easier to hone your skills in that area and develop them into some of your key strengths. Think about what you most enjoy doing and spend time practicing those activities, paying extra attention to the broad skills that you use during each activity. While some people are naturally talented in certain areas, anyone can grow their strengths with time. Understanding your natural talents and passions can help you determine where you are most willing to put in the work to become an expert.
For example, if you enjoy drawing, you may be able to easily develop attention to detail, patience and creativity. All of these strengths can be applied to many different workplace situations, ranging from administrative work to teaching to graphic design. Your ability to enjoy tasks that someone else may not be willing to do is a strength in itself, so pursuing your unique talents and interests is a great way to identify your positive attributes in the workplace.
3. Pay attention to when you are most productive
Throughout your day-to-day activities, make note of how long different tasks take and how productive you are during that time. If it feels like time is passing quickly and you accomplish a lot in a short period of time, you are likely using some of your biggest strengths. Make a list of when you feel the most focused, and consider what characteristics motivate you during those times. Conversely, if you notice that time drags on during certain tasks, think about what makes you feel less motivated so that you can either avoid those situations or actively try to grow those skills.
4. Ask others directly
While you may be able to get a good idea of your strengths by paying close attention to feedback, asking your friends or colleagues about your strengths can give you additional insights that you may not have noticed otherwise. Seek out opinions from a variety of different sources, such as a manager, a coworker or even someone you supervise. People who work with you in different capacities will be able to point out your strengths and give concrete examples with valuable context.
Consider asking others to write a list of your key strengths in the workplace, then looking for commonalities on those lists to identify your most prominent workplace strengths.
5. Take a personality test
Taking a personality test can help you not only recognize the areas where you are already successful, but they can also identify your aptitude for skills and activities that you don't have experience in. There are many personality tests based specifically on workplace strengths that can help you choose a career path that will suit your natural talents and interests.
Personality tests often focus on your interpersonal strengths such as your leadership style, which can be especially helpful for people who enjoy working with others and want to be more intentional with their workplace interactions. You can also use your results to learn about how your strengths can complement others in the workplace to build a strong professional network.
6. Seek out new experiences
Fostering self-awareness is based heavily on your life experiences, so trying new skills, hobbies and activities is essential for identifying your strengths. Regularly seek out professional development opportunities and take risks by asking to collaborate on projects outside of your usual skillset. You can seek out new experiences by taking classes, asking coworkers if you can shadow them, learning new technical skills and taking on leadership roles in new areas. You may be surprised at what strengths you discover by taking the risk of trying something new in the workplace.
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