This is a great question!
If you can figure this one out for yourself you will be well on your way to becoming an effective leader. To answer this question well we have to make mention of Marcus Buckingham. [Check out the resources at Marcus’ site. His work is extraordinary! Click here] His work is important to this question. He wrote a book in the late 90’s called First Break All the Rules. I loved the title simply because I love the thought of busting organizational rules. They seem so arbitrary and claustrophobic, how can you lead effectively with all those restrictions. The way in which Buckingham defines a “talent” is exactly the starting point for identifying strengths. Things we do effortlessly, without thinking, this is a talent.
Who Are YOU!?
We need to conduct self inventories with a heightened sense of awareness. Specifically what do we do that seems effortless? What do we do that when done gives us a sense of satisfaction, completion, joy at the effort? What do we do that gives us a sense of fulfillment, a sense of purpose? These are the things that have the greatest probability of being “strengths” It is critical to also consider that we may have dormant strengths that as of yet have not been discovered and used effectively. This is where seeking the feedback of a trusted colleague or coach can be critical. Often others can see in us the character that we are oblivious to. So seeking feedback is critical to identifying strengths as well.
This is not cliché stuff we are talking about. Frankly many people never work up the courage to walk this path, to understand who they are. Doing so puts you at a distinct advantage. So go on an internal voyage and see what you find out about yourself.
After you do, share with us what you discover.
What are your top three strengths?
Are you using them often?
Could you use them more?