What if we focused on what people were good at instead of only on what needs work? What if we encouraged employees to understand and use their strengths on a daily basis, rather than forcing them to only improve upon their weaknesses?
This may sound like common sense, but many companies still utilize a weakness-focused approach to employee performance, claiming it will help their business grow and improve workplace productivity, despite the immense piles of research that suggest otherwise.
As humans, we have a tendency to focus on the negative. But research shows that “building employees’ strengths is a far more effective approach to improving performance than trying to improve weaknesses.” Moreover, “when employees know and use their strengths, they are more engaged, perform better, and are less likely to leave their company.”
At Throwing Words, we utilize Gallup’s StrengthsFinder® instrument to help leaders understand the strengths of their various team members. Once they know the areas in which their people perform best, they can empower them to excel in those areas.
During performance reviews, rather than only highlighting what needs improvement, we encourage executives to speak to what an employee does well. We also encourage leaders to team workers with complementary skills and strengths together, so as to maximize the strength of the organization as a whole. Over time, this creates more effective work teams and improves productivity in the workplace. In fact, “Gallup has found that strengths-based development interventions have led to teams increasing their productivity by 12.5%.”
Ultimately, when employees are given the opportunity to do what they do best every day, they look forward to coming to work. When they look forward to coming to work, they’ll go above and beyond for your customers. When your customers are happy, your market share increases, and your business becomes more profitable.
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