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What Female Leaders Overlook

What Female Leaders Overlook

BY Michelle McQuaid

Can you name your top five strengths — you know those things you’re good at and actually enjoy doing at work? If you struggled, you’re not alone.

It’s estimated two-thirds of women have no idea what their strengths are. Yet studies suggest when we have a chance to do what we do best each day — even just for small moments — we’re more engaged, more productive and have higher levels of well-being when it comes to our jobs.

How does this work?

“It turns out thriving at work is less about the how you perform the tasks that have been assigned to you and more about being able to express who you are through the work that you do so it feels engaging and meaningful,” explained Dr. Donna Mayerson, a leading coach and Director of Applied Practice at the VIA Institute, when we recorded this podcast about practical strategies to help women thrive at work.

Given that your character strengths help you identify not just what you can do but also what you like to do, Donna suggests they offer a useful framework to help you understand why you’re not thriving at work and what you can do to improve your experiences.

Can you tap into your strengths and use them to thrive more at your work?

Here are three approaches Donna recommends:

  • Craft your job around your strengths — Don’t take your job description at face value, think about ways you can use your strengths to make completing the assigned tasks more effective, engaging and enjoyable. Get clear on what you want to achieve at work and think about how you’re strengths could help you navigate from here to there. Then put them into practice and notice what happens when you put your soul to work.
  • Understand the value of your strengths — Commonly expressed strengths for women include love, kindness, perspective, open-mindedness and judgment but will these make you look “too soft” at the office? In the new economy where relationships have become the heartbeat of business, global research is finding both men and women now see the bottom-line value these unique strengths are capable of delivering.
  • Be mindful of balancing your strengths — You become out of balance with your strengths when you underplay or overplay specific strengths in particular situations. For example, many women underplay their strength of love when it comes to turning it inward and making sure they’re caring for themselves, as well as everybody else. In addition, some women overplay their strength of love when they don’t provide enough space for others to find their own path forward. Notice when you’re using your strengths but it doesn’t feel great or you’re not getting the results you want — how can you balance this strength better?

Want to discover what your top five strengths are? Start by taking the free VIA survey, then find ways to put them to practice.

If you want to listen to this podcast or hear podcasts from other leading women click here.

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