The human brain is naturally wired to focus on problems, issues, and “what is wrong”. Five out or the six most common emotions to all humans regardless of nationality, race, geographic location, age, etc., are well, negative. Consider that we all experience the feelings of being angry (mad), sad, glad, fearful, disgusted and surprised, it is no wonder that most of us spend too much time with our heads hanging in our hands wondering how do I fix this or overcome this weakness?
While the most common emotions experienced by humans have been with us since the beginning, we now know that we have a brain that we can retrain in terms of our thinking, something neuroscientists refer to as neuroplasticity. In laymen’s terms it means we can train our brain to look at the Strengths of a person or situation rather than getting mired up in the negatives or weaknesses. Since we all have strengths and since many of us have not really taken the time to identify our own, (beyond a vague awareness) this seems like a good time to become Strengths focused.
The Gallup Organization focuses on 34 different strengths that people possess, and helps you not only identify them but also identify which are your top 5 or top 10 depending on which assessment you take. Go to Gallup.com to learn more.
So what is the significance of this you might be wondering. Let’s start with your business workplace culture. If your managers, leaders, teams or staff are only focused on what is wrong, or is over focused on people’s weaknesses, that is likely to produce a negative focus and energy in your organization especially given all the challenges and problems you’ve likely encountered since 2020. Generally, we’ve all been more stressed, irritable, likely to make mistakes, and more likely to feel spread too thin, so over focusing on problems and weaknesses just compounds the distress most in your organization are already feeling.
When we train ourselves as leaders and business owners along with managers, to focus on strengths there is a subtle shift that begins. People start to appreciate their own strengths and want to contribute them once they are identified. Additionally, people start looking for the strengths in others in their organizations to help accomplish the team or company’s goals. Identifying, appreciating and utilizing the strengths of others enhances the organizations performance and ability in astounding and beneficial ways.
I have personally witnessed the profound transformation of a workplace when people both get to identify their strengths and wise leaders create opportunities for people to utilize them.
Next time you notice your staff’s morale is down, people are disengaged, and performance is lagging, you might consider a strengths based approach in how you approach people, problems and progress moving forward.