When I posted chapter two of my book, A Day of Hope here on this blog in February, it was popular among readers and web search traffic. As a benefit to you, as a Learning Leadership reader, I'm going to post chapter three of my book here on the blog for you to read, free.
Discover and Deploy Your Strengths
When you look at your strengths as a leader there are two areas to examine: discovering and deploying.
In this chapter I’ll walk you through both of them. I will share my personal story of discovering and deploying my strengths as well as give some examples of what that might look like for you. It’s important to remember that your ability to serve people depends on your ability to do both of these.
It takes time and effort to both discover your strengths and then to deploy them in your work every day. My own journey in this is still a work in progress. I’m still learning and growing every day. And it’s nice to know that there are still ways that I can improve.
My journey to discovering my own strengths mostly came from my quiet time in the morning and seeking feedback from others. Almost every morning I wake up at 4:00 AM to take time to pray, write, think, and reflect. Most of the time I have a pad of paper, my journal, and a pen to write down ideas and experiences I’ve had.
In addition to thinking on my own, I often ask others what they feel my strengths are. I simply ask, “What do you think I do well and what could I improve at?” I also pay close attention to see what people compliment me on. When people give you compliments on something you’ve done or a character quality you have, it’s a good indicator that you’re probably good in that area, and you might possess a strength there.
If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself very confused when it comes to discovering your strengths. I remember many times thinking, “I’m confused. I’m not sure what the heck I’m good at. Will I ever figure this out?” After hours and hours and months and months, I’ve slowly begun to gain some clarity about what my strengths are. As I think about my own personal strengths, I believe they are:
- Visioning – Seeing the future of what God wants me to create and do to further His kingdom,
- Thinking – Generating ideas and concepts that will help that vision become reality,
- Communicating – Communicating that vision and ideas to a group of people either in writing or speaking, and
- Creating – Making daily progress on that vision by creating new things and new services to help people.
Those are the four areas I feel are strengths for me. They are areas that come pretty naturally to me, I love to do them, and I’m better than most people at them.
There are lots of great strengths based books and tests out there to use with this stuff. You can do the DISC testing, Myers-Briggs, and many others. Most of my own strengths discovery and deployment has been through my own self-discovery. The good news is that what you’re about to read is real, it’s practical, and it has been used before.
Like much of this book, my personal experience might not be the best for you. So read it, evaluate it, and create your own personal process to discover your own strengths. But for now, let me get started and share with you what I think the process might look like.