Strengths-based Approach to Development

by Stephanie Walters

Common questions

  1. How can a strengths approach help me to enjoy work and get the best from myself?
  2. How can a strengths approach help me to be myself more at work?
  3. How can a strengths approach help me to feel more confident and resilient?
  4. How can a strengths approach help me to do more of the work that I love?
  5. How can a strengths approach help me to engage, motivate and get the best from my team?
  6. How can I measure the effectiveness of a strengths approach?
  7. What are the arguments against a strengths approach?

1. How can a strengths approach help me to enjoy work and get the best from myself?

Many tools that identify your strengths define them as the things you love to do rather than the things that you are good at. So by finding out what those strengths are and how you can use them more often means that you can do more of what you love or work in a way that most energises you.

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2. How can a strengths approach help me be myself more at work?

We often focus so much on weaknesses and problems that we forget about our strengths and successes. Identifying your strengths will raise your awareness of who you are and how you like to work. This will help you to operate more in a way that is in line with your own values and strengths and not in a way that others behave or you feel you should behave.

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3. How can a strengths approach help me to feel more confident and resilient?

We tend to focus on what we’re not good at or what went wrong and where we need to do better, but this can often lead to unhelpful and limiting thoughts and emotions. However, when you focus on your strengths and the things that you love to do, you begin to feel more energised and produce more helpful emotions, which can give you the confidence to deal with setbacks. When we feel good we are better able to deal with problems and challenges.

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4. How can a strengths approach help me to do more of the work that I love?

Many of the tools that you can use to identify strengths define these qualities as the things that give you energy rather than the things that you are good at. By identifying these strengths you become more aware of when and how often you use them. This awareness can help you to build a plan around how to use your strengths more and therefore do more of the things that you love to do.

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5. How can a strengths approach help me to engage, motivate and get the best from my team?

There are a number of studies that show that when you focus on strengths, people are more engaged in their jobs and improve their performance. This is often due to the fact that simply by acknowledging someone’s strengths you are showing that you recognise them as an individual and what they can bring. This is very motivating for people and therefore tends to cultivate emotional loyalty to their manager and their organisation.

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5. How can I measure the effectiveness of a strengths approach?

When measuring the effectiveness of a strengths approach, you first need to establish what performance measures or behaviours you want to change. Prior to taking part in a strengths intervention you will need to measure the current state of those performance measures or behaviours. Then, after the strengths intervention, it is important to record those same measures and behaviours at different time intervals (one month, three months, six months).

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6. What are the arguments against the strengths approach?

The most common argument against the strengths approach is that it could potentially ignore problems and weaknesses, which may then not be addressed. Taking a strengths approach, however, is not about ignoring weaknesses, it is about focusing as much on strengths as on weaknesses. Ironically, you are far more likely to overcome a weakness if you approach it from a position of strength.

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