Remember when you were in school and you had a favorite subject and then one that you hated? For you, maybe it was reading and math, respectively. At one point, you were so advanced in reading, the teacher told you to stop reading, and dedicate extra energy on math. Now instead of 10 math problems, you were given one hundred. Was the teacher mad at you? Did they not like you? Why were you being punished? Why weren’t you praised for your good reading skills? Now you really didn’t want to go to school anymore. In fact, you might have hated school.
Looking back, our teachers saw what we did not do well and focused on the weaknesses rather than the area in which we exhibited strengths, and we grew disengaged as a student and began to hate coming to school. Now, we are not saying you do not need to learn math, but can you do it through your strength of reading – more word problems, practical scenarios, or geocaching. Is there a way to use your strength of reading to grow in other areas, such as math? The answer is yes! Working from your strengths is always more productive and energy-efficient and will always result in better outcomes for everyone.
Incremental vs. Exponential Improvement
This same scenario happens in the workplace with performance reviews and professional development plans (PDPs). In an employee review, we tell the employee what they are great at, but focus more time and energy on their weaknesses. Then, during the next year, they exhaust more time and energy on their deficiencies and incrementally improve them. What else happens? The employee becomes exhausted, discouraged, disengaged, less productive, and starts looking for a new job where they can hopefully focus on exponentially improving their strengths and overall results.
What can be done? What should be done?
How can you maximize your employees’ potential through performance reviews while keeping them engaged and productive?
Build a StrengthsFirst Culture
Create a StrengthsFirst culture that encourages leaders and employees to identify and focus on strengths and look for partner-up opportunities through professional coaching. When a person works from their strengths (Top 8 strengths from CliftonStrengths assessment) they are:
- more engaged (living the mission and a brand ambassador)
- more productive, using less energy to accomplish more (20% energy leading to 80% productivity)
- simply a happier employee who wants to come to work rather than hating work like the student hating school because of the focus on the negative and stifling of strengths
Ready to take the first step at creating a Strengths-based organization? Want to focus on what is strong, rather than what is wrong? Not sure where to start or how to incorporate strengths with professional coaching? Partner-up with us for higher productivity and employee engagement.