Assess Your Strengths and Talents

Career advice from Ann Ranson, coach and president, Bottom Line 3 Marketing. [Titled "Strength Training" in the print version.]

Associations Now: How does understanding yourself and your talents strengthen your job search and career happiness?

Ranson: When we are operating in our strengths and using our talents, we are more productive and happier, and we experience more growth and creativity. This means that innovation is much more possible.

For people in job-search mode, when you first identify your talents and strengths, then you know what to look for. And since we spend so much time in the workplace, you want to have some level of fulfillment and happiness.

Why is it important for supervisors to assess their strengths and talents as managers?

From a management standpoint, it's first important to understand your own strengths and how they can be used to help you in that role. Then you can dig deeper to get to the core of what motivates your individual team members. So instead of assigning work based on some arbitrary job description, what if you assigned work based on strengths? Doing so gives you the opportunity to create a culture that encourages risk-taking and innovation and creativity. When employees are happy and working with their strengths, research shows they're more comfortable with risk and change.

What about assessing weaknesses and blind spots. Is there a place for that?

I'm not a fan of focusing on fixing your weaknesses. Obviously you can't fully ignore the weaknesses, but rather than looking at those first, let's think more creatively about how to enhance the use of people's strengths.