When a meteoric career rise halts and falters, maybe you start to question…
You may be surprised to learn that this phenomenon is a regular occurrence in the workplace.
Or maybe, you are at a certain age that you are starting to observe this kind of event happening among your peers, who no doubt are coping with a faltering career rise in entirely different ways.
Perhaps less surprisingly is the sense of confusion and roller coaster emotions that accompany the experience of being ‘stuck’ or out of your depth.
In reality, it is more likely that you have may have simply moved out of your ‘strengths zone’.
Research by GALLUP, leaders in strengths based development, point to the fact that many professionals excel when they are able to use their natural talents and strengths at work on a daily basis. GALLUP’s research shows that:
‘People who do focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs. They are more productive too, both individually and in teams. And they are more than three times as likely to say they have an excellent quality of life.’
It is precisely because professionals are in their strengths zone, that they start to rise. Sometimes it is the only way to earn more, sometimes the offer of a promotion is a great validation and one that is too tempting to resist. This is especially true for those who enjoy new experiences, or are high achievers by nature. However, the offer to move up the career ladder can lead to the risk that we are taken out of our strengths zone, sometimes, almost completely – no longer do we get to do the thing we shine at every day.
If you are poised to make this kind of career changing decision then it is a good idea to explore how you will get the same kind of satisfaction in your new role, for example:
- Which of your strengths can you use in the new role?
- How can you remain in the strengths zone either in work or at play?
- Talk to others who have made the move, how was it for them?
- Are there ways to keep your hand in, or job craft so that you can make your move but also retain your specialist status?
- Would your boss reimburse you for taking on more responsibility within your strengths zone if you could promise greater productivity, innovation, performance etc?
If you have taken a step up the ladder and find yourself out of your zone, all is not lost; you are likely to have other talents that you can draw on to help you create the right fit for you in your role:
- Reflect on your strengths from a wider perspective, what talents can you develop further?
- Talk to people who know you well and ask them to give you a sense of their perceptions of your greatest strengths, especially if they have seen them in action
- Think back to ‘peak experiences’ that give you clues to your talent and how you might bring these to bear
- Find a mentor or sponsor that understands you and can ease your transition into your new role
- Build a team of individuals who are positioned in the right role for their talents to create greater team productivity and cohesiveness
- Partner and collaborate with others so that you are able to maintain your performance – you don’t need to do it all!
When in doubt, remember, an individual doesn’t need to be well rounded, but a team does. As a leader of people it is incumbent on us to consider that the biggest responsibility a great manager has is to turn talent into performance.
Take a look at ‘First Break all the Rules’ by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman (2005) and ‘Strengths-based Leadership’ by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie (2009). Both great reads for leaders in any profession.
If you want to find out more about how to lead with your own strengths you can take the Clifton StrenghtsFinder, which has been developed by Gallup, and is designed to identify and activate your talents and strengths. Over 11 million people worldwide have taken this online assessment.
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Lorna Payne - LMP TherapyNovember 7th, 2017