I wanted to share with you a relatively easy way of feeling better at work. It’s simply by intelligently applying your character strengths – more effectively using what you naturally have within you! Let me explain a little more….
A quick look at character strengths
Character strengths are “positive traits reflected in thoughts, feelings and behaviours” (Park et al., 2004) and are regarded as essential ingredients of a fulfilling and happy life (Peterson, 2006). The VIA Classification consists of 24 different character strengths, which we all have within us and can draw on to support us in all aspects of life.
By implementing a character strengths approach, our main focus is on what’s right and what we do well, instead of spending time and energy ‘fixing’ our weaknesses, as studies have shown that this where we can experience the greatest positive impact.
I work with the VIA Classification of character strengths as they are flexible, effective and impactful when professionally applied, and have been proven through many studies to contribute to flourishing.
What are the benefits of applying character strengths at work?
When we consistently and intelligently apply our strengths at work, there’s evidence to show that we can experience improvements in:
When I say intelligently, I mean that to really get the most benefit of applying your strengths, it’s important to know the best way in which to use them! For example to understand when to dial up a strength, such as bravery before a speech; or dial down a strength, for example creativity when you are required to closely follow processes. Or by seeking an evidence-based positive psychology intervention to develop your strengths in new and novel ways.
So, which strengths are most impactful at work?
Numerous studies have found that when the character strengths of…
… are consistently applied at work, then we can experience higher levels of satisfaction.
Here are some ideas of how you could apply each in the work setting:
(Reference: Niemiec & McGrath, 2019; Niemiec, 2018: McQuaid & Lawn, 2014)
So, which of these 4 strengths will you be focusing on first?!
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Which skills, knowledge and experience do you already have that can you apply to different jobs or careers?
If you’re considering a job move or career change, but are really doubting your abilities to move to another field, evaluating your transferable skills, knowledge & experience can help to boost your confidence and be a significant step towards your rewarding new career.
Many, many different skills and types of experience can be applicable across many different jobs or careers. Here’s an example from me: I worked in marketing and corporate communications for over 15 years, and studied both marketing and strategic communication. So I have a clear skill set, knowledge and experience in terms of communication and understanding of corporate strategy. What I do now as a career coach is totally different in terms of work environment, outcomes, skills and knowledge that I utilise. But, as I am a business owner, the knowledge, experience and skills that I’ve collected in my previous career support me in understanding how to market myself, what elements are needed for a business strategy, amongst others.
Your skills, knowledge and experience are so valuable! Whether you’ve spent over 15 years utilising, learning and improving your skills, or even just a couple of months, what you’ve gained has been a big investment in terms of time and energy. So, by understanding what they are, and what you can take with you to a new job or career, you ensure that your investments do not go to waste.
Here are some practical and easy steps you can take to get a clear picture of where you stand right now, and identify what you can, and would like to, take with you to future jobs or careers:
If you’re feeling a little stuck and are beating yourself up for not already being perfectly qualified to for your dream job or to start a new career, take a look through your CV and make a list of which skills you’ve gained and implemented in each position. Make other lists of experience and knowledge that you’ve acquired throughout your work life and education.
Once you’ve made your lists, it’s important to reflect on which skills, knowledge and experience that you enjoy. Who wants to move to a new career and not do what they like to do?! And what are you good at? How can you integrate your talents and strengths into a new career? The StrengthsFinder and VIA assessments are great tools to help you identify your strengths.
Make a wish list of what you’d really, really like to be doing in your new job or career. Highlight the ones that are your highest priority, and even update your CV to reflect this where you can.
This step can also be a big eye-opener if you’re currently not sure about what kind of work is right for you. You can used your highlighted list of preferred skills, knowledge and experience, to do some research into which kinds of careers or jobs you could utilise these on a daily basis.
This may come at a later stage when you are clear on which direction you’d like to go in, but working out which skills and experience that you don’t have (yet!) can help you to develop a training or work experience plan to get you the work you desire.
If you’re needing some support with your audit, the Strong Interest Inventory assessment, identifies careers that are suited to you, based on your interests and preferred skills. So it can really help you to efficiently pin down what you like. It also offers insights into what kinds of skills are required for different jobs, and can then help you to easily identify any gaps that you currently have.