Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to give a talk on strengths to an amazing group of people. I spoke at the Job Seekers' Garden Club of St. Louis career event. The Job Seekers' Garden Club started as a networking group last year when many people lost their jobs. Now they are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and they bring together job seekers, recruiters, and connectors in the St. Louis metro area. Their mission is to get people back to the careers they love. It was an honor to be part of this mission and to share my thoughts as well as some well-known research on the importance of identifying and developing our strengths.
Have you heard of job crafting? Whether you have heard the term before or not, it is likely that you have engaged in the activity of job crafting at some point during your career. In a nutshell, job crafting means modifying your job to make it more engaging and meaningful to yourself. Job crafting can benefit both, the individual employees AND the organization, as it increases well-being and job satisfaction, and helps create better customer experiences and increase productivity.
Recently, I have been talking a lot about putting more focus on developing our strengths, rather than spinning our wheels trying to fix weaknesses. Indeed, there is evidence that focusing more on strengths increases both, happiness levels AND productivity.
One of the key concepts in Positive Psychology is character strengths. When Positive Psychology as a discipline first emerged, the purpose was to study human well-being and what is right with us. Very soon, there was a need for a common language and a way to measure the good in people. Professors Martin Seligman and Christopher Peterson together with their team were pioneers in researching character strengths and many other scholars have followed in their footsteps, providing us with a strengths-based approach to living a good and meaningful life.
Can you recall your last performance review at work? If you do, did your supervisor focus on how you could work on your areas of improvement or did they try to find new ways use your strengths for the organization's goals?
Earlier this year, I started a new hobby. Not crossfit, brewing craft beer, or some other trendy, cool hobby. No, I started knitting socks (which, I think, is VERY trendy and cool).
Almost any job ad on any job site includes a mention about required previous experience: "The ideal candidate will have 5 years of experience in a similar role", "We are looking for someone with 3-5 years related experience", "At least 7 years of experience performing similar tasks is required", and so on.