How to Manage your Strengths when Things Aren’t going Well

Welcome to the Leadership Vision Podcast, where we share our expertise in the discovery, practice, and implementation of a Strengths-Based approach to people, teams, and culture.

Today on the Podcast, Sara Schlipp-Riedel and I will be talking about how to manage Strengths when life circumstances aren’t the way we prefer them to be. When we are stressed, tired, hungry, angry, or experience any other triggers that don’t enable us to be the best versions of ourselves, we’ll discuss how we can still cultivate awareness, presence of mind, and emotional maturity to show up as the best versions of ourselves.

Sara would say it is these moments, when circumstances aren’t ideal, that our Strengths can tend to “over-function”. For example, if you have the Strength of Communication like I do, maybe in those moments you begin to over-communicate, and use too many words to make your point. Or if you have the Theme of Responsibility, perhaps you take on way more than you should. Knowing which of your Strengths have a tendency to over-function when things begin to get out of control, will serve you well as you strive to be a more effective leader.

This conversation today is an update from a blog post Sara wrote in 2016 titled, “3 Tips to Help You Harness an Overbearing Strength.” That article focused on dealing with Strengths when they show up in degenerative ways. As you’ll hear, Sara has a few new thoughts on that today, starting with the title.

…I think over functioning is more generous in the sense that it suggests that all of those things are possible but that we have the capacity to right the ship again.

Sara Schlipp-Reidel

So listen now as Sara and I share three tips that will help prepare you to live out of the best parts of your Strengths when life isn’t going as planned.

Three Tips

Here is a brief breakdown of the three things Sara and I discuss in this episode.

1. Awareness

Awareness is about doing a regular self-assessment to evaluate how your Strengths show up and express themselves in a variety of contexts such as:

  • When you’re happy
  • When you’re sad
  • When you’re angry
  • When you’re feeling pressure
  • When you’re disappointed
  • When you’re grieving
  • When you’re overjoyed

DO THIS: The next time you find yourself feeling one of those emotions, do a self-check and try and determine how (if at all) your Strengths showed up for you.

Then, ask someone close to you for feedback. If the feedback is negative, seek clarity and accountability as you try to show up differently next time. If that feedback is positive, celebrate and seek to understand so you can show up like that consistently.

2. Presence

Sara describes presence like a Matrix moment. Maybe you’re lost in your own thoughts, not sure what to say next, overwhelemed and just not able to figure out what’s going on. Presence is about having an awareness to recognize those instances and take a moment to gather your thoughts, and put your best foot forward.

DO THIS: The next time you find yourself in one of these moments, take a pause in whatever form serves you, to check in with yourself. Start with a deep breath and take in your surroundings. If you can, see which of your Strengths are showing up generatively, and attempt to lean on that. If necessary, take a moment to remove yourself from the group or situation and allow yourself the time to gather yourself.

Too often we get caught up in the proverbial heat of the moment that we lose the presence of mind to show up with all of our Strengths fully in check.

3. Maturity

None of us have fully arrived. Maturity here means allowing yourself the freedom to admit that and maybe even cut yourself some slack. Maturity is about being open to deepening your understanding and learning more about what makes you unique, and how you connect with others.

DO THIS: Building on the ideas of awareness and presence, take time throughout each day to recognize the ways you showed up in a mature and generative way and the ways you could have shown up in a more mature way. Make note of the moments you are proud of yourself and the moments you would like to improve all the while remembering life is a journey, not a destination.

There is a woveness to all three of these things. They don’t necessarily happen one at a time, or all at once. The point we want to emphasize is that to become a stronger leader, to maximize our influence, to push our mission forward, we need to learn how we react when things aren’t going well, and work hard to grow so that even in those difficult times, we’re showing up as the strongest versions of ourselves.

About The Leadership Vision Podcast

The Leadership Vision Podcast is a weekly show sharing our expertise in the discovery, practice, and implementation of a strengths-based approach to people, teams, and culture. We believe that knowing your Strengths is only the beginning. Our highest potential exists in the ongoing exploration of our talents. Subscribe to the Leadership Vision Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Please contact us if you have ANY questions about anything you heard in this episode or if you’d like to talk to us about helping your team understand the power of Strengths.

We would love to hear how you’ve been impacted by the Strengths movement. If you’d like to be featured on the Leadership Vision Podcast, let us know how you are using Strengths and what impact it has made. Contact us here!