The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

In Search of Our Strength(s)

Tom Rath, in his book Strength Finders 2.0, points out that our society has a focus, obsession perhaps, on fixing people’s weaknesses. There’s certainly some truth to that. Even at a young age I’m sure we can recall a time (or in my case multiple times!) where we were tasked with focusing on an area of weakness in an effort to improve or grow in that subject, topic, or skill. This is often painful or difficult because we’re disinterested, disengaged, not excited, or charged as if the act didn’t bring us any energy. However, conversely I’m sure we can all point to a subject, sport, or extra curricular activity that we looked forward to because it did bring us energy. We were either good at it or just gained enjoyment from doing it. Rath argues that we are misguided by the maxim that tells us we can be anything we want if we try hard enough but instead argues that we should instead focus on being more of who we already are. So who are we and what are these strengths?

The staff here at CUPA-HR recently read and completed the assessment identifying, in no particular order, our top 5 strengths. Recently we met with Carmela Crawford from TIAA-CREF as she led us through a series of exercises surrounding these strengths. While these exercises certainly created some wonderful introspective thought they also set the stage for us to gather as teams and learn not only how to best leverage our strengths to the benefit of the team but also to seek out others with specific strengths as those individuals will often find enjoyment in the activity and we, as a result, can learn from their involvement and energy.

If you haven’t already picked up a copy of this book and taken the assessment tool I highly recommend you do. We’re excited with what we’ve learned thus far and are eager to continue the application!