Strengths-based Approach to Development

by Stephanie Walters

Want to know more?

Other topics

Coaching Yourself



Personal Brand

It is essential that each of us find our element, not simply because it will make us more fulfilled but because, as the world evolves, the very future of our communities and institutions will depend on it.

Sir Ken Robinson, Internationally acclaimed thought leader in creativity, innovation and human capacity, and advisor on education to government, non-profit organisations, and the arts bodies.

TED talks

Shawn Achor – The happy secret to better work

Dan Gilbert – The surprising science of happiness

Martin Seligman – The new era of positive psychology

Ken Robinson – Schools kill creativity


The element: how finding your passion changes

Ken Robinson, published by Penguin (2010), 288 pages

Out of our minds: learning to be creative

Ken Robinson, published by Capstone (2011), 2001

Ken Robinson describes your element as the point at which natural talent meets person passion. He writes a compelling case for finding your element and following it. There are great stories and examples to help illustrate his points. A real must read!

Stretch: leading beyond boundaries

James Brook and Dr Paul Brewerton, published by Matador Business (2013), 128 pages

This is a fable about a manager who applies the strengths approach to building his team. It is easy to read and makes the strengths approach accessible to all who read it. A great number of tips, tools and techniques to help you practically apply the approach.

First break all the rules: what the world’s greatest managers do differently

Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, published by pocket Books (2005), 320 pages

Now discover your strengths: how to develop your talents and those of people you manage

Marcus Buckingham and Donald O Clifton, published by Pocket Books (2005), 272 pages

These are both great books that introduce and explain the strengths approach as well as detailing information about the StrengthsFinder tool.

The happiness advantage: the seven principles of positive psychology that fuel success and performance at work

Shawn Achor, published by Virgin Books (2011), 256 pages

This is a fantastic book, full of examples of research projects that provide the credibility behind positive psychology and how it can help and support individuals, teams and organisations reach their potential.

Flow: the classic work on how to achieve happiness

Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, published by Rider (2002)

Csíkszentmihályi is best known for his concept of flow and how to achieve happiness. He offers evidence-based principles on how to achieve this and his concepts are widely used within the field of positive psychology and the strengths-based approach.


This consultancy company provides the tool Strengthscope and other products and services that apply the strengths approach to development.

The Center gives an introduction to the work of Martin Seligman and other positive psychologists.

This is Mike Pegg’s site where you can also find a summary of Martin Sleigman’s work.

Gives an overview of the Centre’s approach to identifying strengths.

This gives an introduction to the 34 StrengthsFinder Themes.

This gives an introduction to Bernard Haldane and other people’s work with Dependable Strengths.

This gives an introduction to Marcus Buckingham’s work on strengths.

This describes the research of leading Positive Psychology expert Shawn Achor and how to apply that to the workplace.

This gives an introduction to the work of Al Siebert and others who focus on developing inner strength.

This is an exercise that you can do to enable you to identify each person’ strengths, successful style and specific contribution to helping a team to reach its goals.


You can also contact the author directly: Stephanie Walters