StrengthsFinder conversations are powerful things. When talking with others about who we are, we gain insight into what makes us tick, as well as receive helpful feedback on things we may not know about ourselves. Alternatively, we also gain insight and understanding into those who are closest to us.
Recently, Joseph and I hosted a live webinar where we talked about ways that any leader can grow their team using StrengthsFinder. The section from that webinar that really stuck with me, was all of the simple things we can do to regularly encourage Strengths Based conversations.
3 Ways to Encourage Strength Based Conversations
Below are three things you can do on a regular basis that will help your team talk about their Strengths. Not only are these great ways to gain a deeper understanding of your team, but also a great way to learn more about who you are as a leader.
1. Show and Tell
Linda wrote about an activity that our team did at the end of 2016. We each brought in an object that represented our relationship with the company in some way.
Before your next team meeting, ask participants to bring with them an object that in some ways tells a story about who they are. Leave it open ended and see where the conversations take the group.
After each person tells their story, ask them to share if they can see any of their Themes of Strengths coming into play from what they shared.
Something that we do with all of our clients is create drawings that represent a snapshot of how we see their teams’ Strengths working together. We do this after spending some time getting to know each person, and then use it as a way to teach the group about each other. We then ask each person, and the group in general, to provide feedback on our interpretation.
One easy thing you can do at the beginning of your next staff meeting is to start with a simple prompt or question such as:
“Draw a picture of an object that represents one of your Strengths.”
You may want to prep your team ahead of time, but only allow them 5 minutes to draw something, and then pick 2 or 3 people (more if you have time) to share their drawing with the group. If time allows, ask the team for clarifying questions.You can repeat this activity for several meetings, until everyone has had a chance to share.
To take your Strengths based conversations to the next level, ask your team to draw a picture using two of their Strengths, then three, then four, then five. This is an easy way to continue the conversation for many weeks or months at a time.
An image activity differs from show and tell, because it allows a bit more flexibility for the participants. For those who find it easier to come up with something on the fly, it allows more freedom of interpretation.
3. Games and Questions
Most people love games, and almost everybody loves to talk about themselves. We have found that a good way to generate excellent Strengths based conversations is to tap into these two universal loves.
Here is a fun way to do both during a team meeting:
- Pick one reflection question (listed below) and ask your team to write down their answer on a 3X5 note card.
- Answer the question without revealing the Strength in mind. Answers need to be succinct; just a sentence or phrase.
- Collect the 3×5 notecards and have a “moderator” read each answer aloud.
- Ask team members to guess who provided each answer.
- When the correct answer is revealed, give the person whose card it was a chance to unpack their answer. This will give the team more insight into their Strengths.
Use these questions (from Aleasha’s post on reflection) to generate discussion.
- What is the earliest memory you have of your Strengths?
- What has given you the most energy in your life?
- Who were you before the world told you who to be?
- When, if ever, have your Strengths gone dark? Why?
- Who have been the most influential people in your life? Can you see their reflection in your Strengths?
- What moments are you most proud of and how did your Strengths shine through?
Your Strength Based Conversations
What have you found to be particularly helpful to get your team talking about their Strengths? Share below.