Leveraging Your Strengths at Work

One of my favorite things about working at Wells Fargo is the value it places in its people. A prime example of this is the access team members are granted to resources that enable us to grow and develop as professionals, which in turn allow us to better serve our partners and customers.

A common thread that runs through a lot of these training courses is the focus on identifying and leveraging your strengths (as opposed to trying to “fix” your weaknesses). Through online assessments and workshops, we’re taught that everyone has their own talents (strengths), and how well you understand and utilize those talents can determine how well you do your job – and equally important, how much you enjoy doing it.

For example, ever since I was a small child, I’ve been a rule-follower – so much so that my own mother (!) called me a “square” (I had no idea what that meant as an 8-year old, but I suppose it’s the right term for a girl who refused to color outside the lines — literally). I am (brutally) honest to a fault and get riled up when others do not do what they say — and will pester them until they do. (Basically, I can be a total nag, as my husband can attest to when I ask him why he has not yet replied to an email that he received…10 minutes ago.)

After taking Clifton StrengthsFinder®, an online assessment that is widely used in our organization to help people identify their talents, I discovered that there was a name for this – Responsibility. I had a big “a-ha!” moment when I read the first few lines of the descriptor: “By nature, you are impelled to deliver on all your commitments. You are determined to meet all of your obligations.” My friends and family could not have described me better (and also nodded knowingly when I shared this with them).

So how does knowing that I have “Responsibility” as my top strength help me in my job? In several ways – I’ve learned to ask for distinct deadlines for my deliverables (because I would be guilt-ridden if I ever submitted something after the due date); that I don’t need to raise my hand every single time someone asks for volunteers (I wouldn’t have time to do my job if I did); and that as a manager, I should set clear expectations with my team rather than assume that they operate the same way I do. I also regularly ask people I work with what their strengths are, which often provides insight into why our working styles are so different (or so similar) and helps us appreciate each others talents and work together better.

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2 Responses to Leveraging Your Strengths at Work

  1. Mary Beth says:

    Thank you for this wonderful article! It’s always so enlightening to hear perspectives from people who have talent themes different from my own. While I strive to be responsible in all I do, I don’t have responsibility in my top 5. My strategic and ideation themes often play out and can take me off into many different directions, considering various options etc. Understang that others operate very differently has been a huge learning for me and I so appreciate times I can partner with someone who has complimentary talent themes — such as responsibility!
    Thanks for some great information and reminders,
    Mary Beth

    • studentloandown says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Mary Beth. It is a great advantage to understand your own strengths, as well as the strengths of the people around you!

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