Strengths & Moral Conviction
In this episode, we discuss how the language of Strengths can inform how our behaviors and convictions influence and shape others. We also investigate how our Strengths can help us understand how our moral convictions develop, how they evolve, and how they are expressed to other people. At the end of the episode, we share an activity helpful for anyone looking to dive deeper into their understanding of Strengths and moral convictions. Enjoy!
Strengths & Moral Conviction
We use the language of Strengths to defend what we think is right and wrong, our convictions, and when our convictions begin to influence what’s right and wrong, we’re practicing and forming a morality. This is how our Strengths shape our morals. However, moral convictions can be a double-edged sword in our relationships and the good work we want to do. We often judge ourselves and our behavior based on our intention rather than our behavior, but when someone else is acting in a similar way, we often make a judgment by their behavior and by the outcome alone. Moral convictions require a lot of self-reflection, especially when we act a certain way based on what we believe is right and wrong.
Setting Healthy Boundaries with Strengths
How can we use the language of Strengths to help us understand how we can set healthy boundaries? We believe knowing your circle of influence, who and what is influencing you, can give clarity to your boundaries around your Strengths. While boundaries are important for healthy connection, often people use them as a way to disconnect. This can happen around moral convictions as well. We believe our boundaries or moral convictions to be so true that they can become places where we disconnect from others, rather than trying to understand others.
An Example of Healthy Boundaries
An example of our work with Strengths, boundaries, and moral convictions came to us in a recent client engagement. This client in particular had the Strengths of introspection, strategic, intellectual, input, and learner. It became clear in our work together that some of his Strengths did establish healthy boundaries, however, we heard from his peers and employees that he spoke in a very strong, declarative way which tended to put people off because they didn’t feel invited into the decision-making process. We realized our client was collecting all his information from close relationships he had with senior executives and then would take that information and go away to think by himself.
Someone like this client, who can speak so clearly about their convictions and what they’re thinking, can easily be misinterpreted if they make declarative statements about their beliefs. When someone makes very strong statements based on a group, they’re speaking for the group without necessarily having input from the group. For our client, when he made declarative statements to his peers or employees, they assumed and projected a judgment of right or wrong because they did not know the leader’s Strengths or moral convictions.
In working together, we were able to help this client defining boundaries a little more and say, “this is what I think and this is what I think you all mean” rather than declarative statements. These simple changes made a huge difference for our client and their team.
Our Moral Convictions are Evolving
In addition to healthy boundaries, our moral convictions also require a good amount of self-reflection. Strengths can lead us into something called biased conviction. Convictions lead us to believe that our way is the only way, and anyone who does things differently, or who has a different perspective is wrong. This can cause moral injury or harm to others.
Our moral convictions constantly have to be reevaluated to line up with our values. To do this, we need to be more compassionate with how our moral convictions can develop over time, based on changing or evolving values. We also need to be compassionate with other people as they begin to experience how their behaviors have changed and how that may have caused their moral convictions to evolve as well.
Strengths also change, adapt, and evolve over time, based on life experience, your history, education, how it is that you’re growing and developing as a whole person. Over time, your Strengths will express themselves differently as your values and moral convictions also continue to evolve.
An Example of Evolving Moral Convictions
An example of this type of evolution of moral convictions can be found in Brian’s beliefs on love and marriage. Brian shares, “Earlier in my life, I felt like the expression of marriage and an expression of love was very black and white and very defined…Over the past several decades that has completely evolved where my moral conviction is rooted in love. [Now,] I’m looking for how true love can be expressed regardless of context, regardless of gender orientation, regardless of what it may look or sound like. I’m asking myself, is that truly an expression of love? And if it is, I can respect that.”
In his example, Brian’s moral convictions on marriage started one way but have changed, developed, and evolved into what they are now. “It has impacted many, many areas of my life,” Brian shares, “including my approach to the work that we do with individuals at Leadership Vision.”
Understanding Your Moral Convictions through Your Strengths
How is it that we can better acquaint ourselves with our own moral convictions and how can we better understand someone else’s moral convictions? We know in life the greater the pressure, the greater the challenge, the greater emotional stress that we’re under, the more to one side or the other we will drift in our beliefs and convictions. How can we move towards the middle, that more radical position of listening? Some of the challenges we face as individuals are letting go of the tight grip we have on the behaviors that we know and love and allowing ourselves to extend a hand to somebody else and say, how are you interpreting that? At Leadership Vision, we believe knowing the Strengths of others can offer a new understanding of people and their behaviors.
Try this Activity to Learn More!
If our moral convictions are creating either-or and creating binary ways of seeing the world, how can our Strengths help us find a third way?Try this activity on your own or with your team to start exploring your moral convictions through the lens of strengths.
- Name one of your moral convictions, what you believe is right and wrong.
- List the Strength that supports this moral conviction and give an example.
- Which of your Strengths help you live out your moral convictions?
- What boundary needs to be in place around that strength?
Neurologically, the brain is attracted to things in our minds that create dissonance. We typically spend more time focusing on the negative than we will the positive, and we often forget the good and great things about us because they don’t create such difficulty. The language of Strengths intentionally introduces a myriad of ways, words, and phrases to better understand what is positive and what is right about people. The more familiar we are with the positive, life-giving elements of who we are as individuals, the more quickly we will be able to identify things that are negative or going against the grain of our personality.
Your Strengths & Moral Convictions
How do your Strengths shape your moral convictions? How do they influence and shape your relationships with others? We’d love to hear from you and learn more. Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with us on social media, or comment on this blog.
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.
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