by Ann Jenrette-Thomas, Esq. and Kathleen Ashwill
Are you aware that focusing on the strengths of your associates, other employees, and interns strengthens your firm?
It seems obvious, but there can be a tendency to get hung up on how employees are falling behind and ways they need to improve. However, what you give attention to grows, so your firm will benefit from a more powerful focus on associates’ strengths, and on your own. You’ll be amazed at the results you’ll see, not only externally but also within yourself and others.
According to Gallup research, those who utilize their strengths every day in their jobs are six times more likely to be actively engaged as they work. It makes sense – when we’re working on what we’re good at, we feel good about ourselves and want to keep doing what showcases our strong points.
‘What are your strengths?’ is a common question you pose when interviewing potential candidates for your firm. Often, people aren’t even aware of the range of strengths they possess, having been taught primarily to improve their weaknesses. Getting to know oneself is key. Once someone determines how they think, feel, behave, as well as what their “triggers” are, they can identify their natural talents. Building upon those talents is the key to developing strengths which will result in consistent positive performance at work.
It’s likely that as strengths are built, weaknesses will be naturally improved but without the level of stress and resistance that can come when the primary focus is on the weaknesses.
You’ve probably noticed that most businesses don’t focus on strength building; however, the strength-building approach not only raises employee enthusiasm, work ethic, and commitment but is financially beneficial to the business as well. So it’s a win-win for everyone and for all levels of your firm.
A recent Gallup study shows that if a supervisor focuses on strengths, the chances of an employee being actively disengaged are 1/100. However if the supervisor focuses on the weaknesses, the chance of active disengagement rises to 22/100 and if the supervisor ignores the employee, that number comes up to 40/100. So, certainly, negative attention is preferable to no attention, but positive attention makes a dramatic difference.
As you can imagine, focusing on the strengths of your colleagues and using this focus to inform how you delegate tasks improves a sense well-being within your firm. The more we use our strengths, the less likely we are to feel doubt, low self-esteem, worry, stress, or anger. Positive feelings of being energized, fulfilled, rewarded, respected, and at ease are maximized. As you’re boosting productivity and positive feelings, you’ll also be cutting down on sick days, chronic disease, and health-related costs. Talk about a Happy Law Practice!
Take a moment to imagine the relief, ease, connectivity, and productivity that is possible in your firm when you employ this technique more.
Many people do not know their strengths or minimize their usefulness. Assessments such as Strength Finders, Lumina, Myers Briggs, DISC, etc. can help each person in your firm identify their unique strengths. Once understood, it’s important to determine how to maximize those strengths. For example, an individual who is a stronger relationship builder should maximize business development efforts through more in-person meetings; whereas, an introverted person who is an excellent writer should incorporate more writing as a business development tool.
Need direction on integrating this approach within your firm? We can help.
Esquire Coaching features a team of coaches (with a variety of strengths!) who will assist you in administering the foregoing assessments, enhancing your employees’ strengths, as well as fostering a strong strengths-based climate throughout your firm. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know how we can support you.
When you adopt a strengths-based standpoint, you will be opening your firm up to great opportunities for success.