The fun and festivities of Christmas and New Year will soon become fond memories as we drive forward into 2013… Oh, and on that note ‘Happy New Year’ to you. So with regards getting up on damp, dark and cold mornings, what’s going to be your motivational push?
One of our primary motivators is to work on our strengths rather than highlighting potential weaknesses! However, sometimes we don’t really know what our core strengths are in ourselves or for those we’re responsible for.
As an example, let’s use the Olympics and the gold medal winners. We have Greg Rutherford who took it in the Long Jump, Tirunesh Dibaba took the 10,000km, Barbora Spotakova secured the Javelin and Usain Bolt took the 100m. Now the team coach/manager wouldn’t look to someone like Usain to compete in Greg’s given strength or Barbora to run in Tirunesh’s given sport of long distance running. Each have different skill sets and different characteristics from endurance to knowing when to jump or release the javelin to give it the greatest distance or have muscles that explode with power for the sprint! Bosses, Managers, Leaders all too very often miss out on individuals strengths and focus on weaknesses as do we with ourselves and this can be such a demotivate outcome when criticism is handed out under the banner ‘areas for improvement’!
Negative feedback often gets us, or those we distribute it to, to become defensive and the desired result is rarely obtained as we seldom believe what is being said is actually true but more of a personal attack! The outcome is usually that we don’t feel ‘motivated’ to do anything about it. However, think back, when praised we feel like we are doing something worthwhile, we feel appreciated and seek to receive the same ‘reward’ by continuing with the positive behaviour.
A tool that coaches often use is to create our own survey on how others see our strengths and is known as ‘The Reflected Best Self’. So how do we go about achieving this, here we go…
- PUT OUT A SURVEY … Choose 10 people (Existing colleagues/boss, clients/customers, old acquaintances, family members, friends … generally, a broad spectrum of people who know or have known you). Ask them to consider what they believe to be your strengths complemented with an example so it quantifies what they are writing. Also, stress that this isn’t simply ‘work’ orientated but aligns to what they see in you as a person.
- IS THERE A THEME APPEARING? … When you have them all back, group the responses into ‘theme’ groups. There will be the obvious ones you’ve always been aware of but you will undoubtedly find new ones that you hadn’t even realised others see within you because this is something that’s natural to you and you just take it for granted!
- CREATE YOUR ‘STRENGTH PROFILE’ … take the key strengths that emerge and write a few paragraphs that summarize what you are really good at. The purpose of this is two-fold, one, this acts as a support when confidence may somewhat escape you and, two, it will help you guide forthcoming actions and choices.
- PLAY TO THESE STRENGTHS … so you now have your list of strengths, how do these fit in with your current role? Are you playing to these strengths? If you’re great at analytical work but not so hot on cold-calling, is there someone else within your firm, team, organisation, that are more people orientated that could do that task and you get on with accumulating data? I think you get the idea.
This simple exercise allows you to truly understand your own strengths as well as those within your responsibilities (or even suggest this to your manager/director as a good idea to consider) and by playing to your strengths your SELF MOTIVATION will improve accordingly resulting in not only a better outcome but one that you’ll wish to continue pursuing.
Coaching to Success helps firms/companies and the people therein to develop motivation through such activities both one to one and in teams whilst also building confidence through the benefit of praise within the workplace. If this is an area you are looking to develop within your working environment to either simply increase the positive atmosphere or to improve performance, take the next step by speaking to someone who can help. Call us to arrange a free consultation by contacting Neil (07761 187238) or throw us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help.