Part of the self-awareness process of Strengths has to do with differences. When we know who we are, we can also accept who we are NOT. In turn, this provides a need for a concept called “supply and rely.”
I supply what I am good at on a team and I rely on others to supply what they are good at on a team. This awareness creates a healthy, interdependent team capable of high performance. There are 5 principles that have to become like second nature for a Strengths-based culture to work:
1. Talents are neutral. We all have about 5 things we do really well. I am not superior to someone else. My talents and strengths are just different. Your talents are beneficial and so are mine.
2. Talents are not labels. Often, we give someone a negative label because they are different. This practice creates a barrier in our relationships with others. Often a label is a one-word-phrase that we use to describe someone in a negative light. “Flighty, emotional, crazy, intense” are words that have a negative connotation.
3. Lead with a positive intent. Making positive assumptions about others is a healthy way to give the benefit of the doubt and help us not become resentful. Be careful that the story you tell yourself about someone is from a positive lens.
4. Differences are advantages. People, in general, are not well rounded. “Well-roundedness” is a myth. When we can accept this fact, we begin to accept other people’s ideas as well.
5. People need each other. We all seem to have this “self-sufficiency” mindset. We believe that we are islands in need of no one, but this concept is wrecking teams. High-performing teams are those that believe every person has value and deserves to be heard
Please consider these points the next time you hear bias or a negative, preconceived notion slip into a conversation between you and a co-worker. Your team will be better off when these 5 principles stay top-of-mind!