Wednesday, April 02, 2008

How to communicate strengths to your boss

The buzz is all about using Strengths at work. So much so that employees sometimes get confused.
Check out the following readers question.

Dear Aunt Bonnie-
Discovering my personal strengths made me pretty excited, especially about using them at work. But when I started sharing my discoveries with my co-workers, their response was to basically say that I need to forget about my strengths and just do my job. After all, that’s what I’m getting paid to do.
And now I’m confused. I was going to talk to my boss about my strengths and opportunities to use them in the office. But what if he reacts the same way?
Signed, Achiever/Command/Developer/Discipline/Maximizer

Dear A/C/D/D/M-
Though it’s unfortunate that everyone at work didn’t share your enthusiasm over Strengths, approaching your boss might still be a good idea. Depending on how you approach him. Anything smacking of entitlement—like, these are my strengths and I don’t want to do anything that would not make use of them—will not go over. Every single position on the face of this earth includes interesting as well as uninteresting tasks which simply need to be completed.

If, however, you approach your boss using wording which helps him understand how you can be most productive in reaching office goals, he/she might be more receptive. The key is to make this a conversation rather than ultimatum.

There’s a great book out, Lifescripts by Stephan Pollan and Mark Levine. Though it won’t cover your Strengths discussion specifically, it does provide a helpful grid for pre-planning conversations such as this.

All the best in using your strengths!
Aunt Bonnie

Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 04/02 at 04:13 PM
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