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Your Strengths for a Happier Work-Life Balance

 

I recently facilitated a series of Workshops for employees at risk of being impacted by an impending structure.

Drawing on the realm of Positive Psychology and Happiness, one activity focussed on Participants learning about their Signature Strengths.

The aim of the activity was to show Participants where they could bring more of their 'Signature Strengths' into all ‘Areas of One’s Life’.

Process:

We used the VIA Signature Strengths Survey, which has been taken by several hundred thousand people so far, and devised by Drs. Neal Mayerson and Martin Seligman.

The activity worked as follows:

Respondents first answered 120 questions online. Upon completion, they then received a report which arrayed 24 Signature Strengths, from their most dominant (No.1) to least dominant (No. 24).

Strengths Profile

I then asked Workshop Participants to confirm their Signature Strengths by finding a corresponding card in a 24 VIA Signature Strengths Card Pack, which I sourced from Positive Leadership.

Social Intelligence_front Social Intelligence_back

The back of each Signature Strength card further defined the Signature Strength. It also described when it might be at its best; and when it might be thwarted.

Each participant aimed to cull their list from their top 7 - 8 to a more manageable 5 Signature Strengths.

I then used another resource from Positive Leadership. It was a table which had ‘Areas of One’s Life’ across each column: Work/Career; Wealth; Health; Family and Home; Relationship; Friends; Personal Time; Education, Growth & Development.

VIA Signature Strengths_Personal Grid

Along the first rows, I asked Participants to score themselves out of a maximum of 10, how much effort and focus they were putting into each of these areas.

In the second row, I asked them to look at how satisfied they were in each of these Areas.

Any gaps of 3 or more were significant.

I then had Participants score each of their Signature Strengths across each of the Areas of One’s Life.

Any score of 8 or more got circled. Anything with a 10 got asterisked.

Consider the following for a happier life:

1. What are your Top 5 Strengths
2. Consider the disconnection between Effort and Focus and Satisfaction
3. Determine when you are best as you exhibit each strength in each Area of One’s Life
4. Consider how often you use each Signature Strength at Work
5. Consider how each Signature Strength might get you into trouble
6. Ponder this disconnect/gap and what to do about it
7. Seek to draw to each Signature Strength and consider how to bring more of each Strength into each ‘Area of One’s Life’.

How has this exercise helped people in the past?

I recently coached a former Executive with a Professional Services business going through outplacement with CareerSupport365.

By determining his Signature Strengths, it was as if a light had turned on for him.

He was able to see which part of his work life allowed him already to have his Signature Strengths used. However, he also saw where there were gaps.

We worked through his strengths, and where there were gaps or deficiencies, how he might be able to improve in that Area of One’s Life.

For example, while spirituality was one of his strengths, he felt he had fairly superficial friendships. He resolved to seek out other people to who had other interests like his and connect on a deeper, more meaningful, and spiritual level.

Where he found he got into trouble in using his Signature Strengths was in the strength of Compassion. He found it naturally hard to reprimand people for a job poorly delivered. He resolved to use Compassion – yet ensure it was backed up by clear and direct communication.

Strengths based psychology is proven to work. I wholeheartedly recommend you look at the Survey and read books by Martin Seligman and Tal Ben Shahar in this area.

With thanks again to Positive Psychology.

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About the author:

Greg Weiss is the Founder of CareerSupport365. He has almost 30 years success in HR and in career coaching people.