Marcus Buckingham is a researcher, motivational speaker and business consultant. Marcus Buckingham is also the Author of StandOut 2.0 assess your strengths, find your edge, win at work.
In StandOut 2.0: assess your strengths, find your edge, win at work, Marcus Buckingham stresses the fact that everybody has a “genius” — a particular combination of strengths — that is innate but that is difficult to find out, to control and to employ. Our genius comes so naturally to us that it becomes the norm, the standard of behavior for everyone.
Furthermore, it is difficult to acknowledge our abilities and how unique we are. Society will not tell you your strengths but will deter you from being confident or different and will encourage you to fit the mould.
In that event, Gallup Inc’s StrengthsFinder has defined 34 “themes of talents” to help an individual evaluate their strengths and styles. Though there is an infinite amount of strengths and personality traits, Marcus Buckingham noticed recurring patterns within Gallup Inc’s 34 themes of talents. He then combined those 34 themes of talents and hundreds of other measurable themes into 9 powerful “Strength Roles” that will help you distinguish your strengths and take advantage of your edge. Each Strength Role can be assimilated to a “certain “personality,” a way of engaging with the world.”.
Below, are the 9 StandOut Strength Roles identified by Marcus Buckingham:
Advisor. You are a practical, concrete thinker who is at your most powerful when reacting to and solving other people’s problems.
Connector. You are a catalyst. Your power lies in your craving to bring two people together to make something bigger and better than it is now.
Creator. You make sense of the world, pulling it apart, seeing a better configuration, and creating it.
Equalizer. You are a level-headed person whose power comes from keeping the world in balance, ethically and practically.
Influencer. You engage people directly and convince them to act. Your power is your persuasion.
Pioneer. You see the world as a friendly place where, around every corner, good things will happen. Your power comes from your optimism in the face of uncertainty.
Provider. You sense other people’s feelings, and you feel compelled to recognize these feelings, give them a voice, and act on them.
Stimulator. You are the host of other people’s emotions. You feel responsible for them, for turning them around, for elevating them.
Teacher. You are thrilled by the potential you see in each person. Your power comes from learning how to unleash it.
The StandOut assessment test, taken online and associated to this book, is designed to measure your propensity to a Strength Role, by posing a series of questions and analyzing your impulsive or instinctive responses. The test poses thirty-four questions that are mostly built around hypothetical stressful situations in the workplace, that are clocked and that require top of the mind responses among a set of possible good and defendable responses. Additionally, the questions are embedded with trigger words that will unknowingly stimulate you, captivate you and incite you towards a specific answer.
The analysis of your responses, ranking your 9 strengths roles in order of importance, is delivered in a report. Through the StandOut assessment test, you can discover and study which two top Strength Roles that you are naturally leaning towards.
Knowing your strengths, how to use them, where to use them, how to describe yourself, the impacts of your strengths on your career, your team and your leadership styles, how to look out for your pitfalls, will definitely give you an edge over everyone else in the workplace.
After identifying and understanding your strengths, it is necessary to improve them, to best translate them in order to properly employ them. It is necessary to build them. Marcus Buckingham lays down three lessons to do so:
- “Your genius is precise”. Stay in your strength zone and take advantage of it.
- “Remember who you are”. Remember your Strength Roles, apply them daily and hold on tight to them when people tell you otherwise or things don’t go your way.
- “Always sharpen your edge”. Better yourself within your strength zone.
StandOut 2.0: assess your strengths, find your edge, win at work is a very instructive book. I vehemently suggest it to people who are looking to identify or fortify their strengths, to people who feel like they have taken the wrong career path and to people who are not yet blossoming in the career path they appreciate.
While reading StandOut 2.0, on account of me possessing a career advice blog, I believed that I related the most to the Strength Roles of Advisor and Creator. However, according to the Standout assessment test, I fit the two top Strength Roles of Pioneer and Equalizer. In disbelief, I committed myself to read the entire report, including the piece about the ideal career advice that I should follow.
Below are my strengths roles by order of importance:
It turns out that:
- the StandOut assessment test is surprisingly accurate. The test report perfectly described my major personality traits. Throughout my education, training and career, I’ve been the one to jump on novelty and innovative projects.
- the StandOut assessment test has provided me with a positive twist on what I thought where personality flaws.
- the StandOut assessment test suggested career paths that I have already taken and am currently positioned at. It has equally confirmed to me that I am in the right career path but I stayed in the wrong workplace for the longest, which I figured out a few months before taking this test.
In conclusion, the StandOut assessment test will surprise you not only by challenging the ideas you have of your strengths but also by the accuracy of the results.
the StandOut assessment calculates your two leading strength roles, pinpoints what you can do to channel them, and describes your particular power when these top-two roles combine.
We each have specific areas where we consistently stand out, where we can do things, see things, understand things, and learn things better and faster than ten thousand other people can. When we find ourselves in these areas—our strengths “zone,” if you will—we are magnificent. Self-assured and flushed with success, we imagine we can do just about anything that we turn our minds to.
When you take a job that you never should have taken, when your boss doesn’t understand you, when your company downsizes you, or when you start to question whether you have anything of value to offer, the memory of your strengths will hold you in place, reorient you, and show you the way forward.
For the last few years, emphasis has no longer been put unto developing leadership knowledge, leadership skills and leadership competencies in the workplace but unto developing your talents, your strengths and purpose in order to pursue leadership positions.
What is the main difference between knowledge, skills, competencies, talents and strengths?
On one hand, knowledge (the fact of knowing something), skills (the ability to perform tasks well at your job or in a given situation) and competencies (the ability to master the skills that you perform well at your job or in a situation) are learnt and developed at school or at work, through training and practise.
On the other hand, your talents are inherent, last a lifetime and make you unique. They cannot be acquired or forgotten throughout life. By means of your talents, you are innately hardwired to think, feel and speak a certain way, to react in a particular manner to a given situation or event.
Finally, strengths are the combination of skills, knowledge and talent. As sure as recognizing the different types of coworkers possible in the workplace remains a knowledge, getting along with coworkers and navigating office politics become skills, communicating effectively and influencing coworkers and clients are talents. Subsequently, possessing the ability to take command, impose your views and take charge on a project emerge as a strength.
Defining your strengths early in life is critical for personal development, self fulfillment and career success. Indeed, assessing your strengths will enable you to:
- appreciate your self-worth, reinforce your values and your motivations.
- understand your strength, its nuances, its impact at work and consequences on coworkers. For instance, visionary leaders don’t always know how to properly explain their vision which leaves their team members confused and uncertain of the leadership capabilities of the visionary leader.
- evaluate your role and contributions at work. This way, you will not be taken advantage of and you will find out early whether or not you are fulfilled by a career path, if you are performant or if you are made for leadership.
- be more effective, positively influence career decisions and improve your career by actually mastering these strengths. Strenghts assessment becomes suddenly critical when accepting or refusing a promotion.
- assist, be assisted by coworkers or team members with a complementing set of skills. If you are a team leader, acknowledging your strengths will make you more aware of your team member’s.
- invest in an environment that fits your thinking pattern and use less energy while sustainably performing a task.
- gauge your weaknesses and possible blindspots. determining your weaknesses enables a better self-assessment, a way to work around them or simply avoid them. Accept the weaknesses as much as you do the strengths but don’t overwork your weaknesses either: correcting your weaknesses will never be as effective as improving your pre-existent strengths. A common mistake, that I have mostly noticed during performance reviews, lies in the fact that managers stress, more than often, the flaws of an employee and urge them to fix their weaknesses instead of pointing out their strengths and placing them where they would be more productive.
- Extend the vision of yourself, the limit of who you are and what you can do. Be adventurous and step outside of your comfort zone.
- express personal truths, steer away from social pressure and conforming to social norms.
Many times, and we have all seen it, people who do not discover their strength or do not use them, tend to be depressed, anxious, bored and unmotivated. They also interact negatively with their coworkers, complain about their job, underperform and are ultimately labeled “difficult”.
Wasting a lifetime in a dead-end job, they feel forced to counter their instincts and to comply to conventional thoughts and rules which is unnatural and counterproductive to them.
It is easier to describe or identify an acquired professional competency than to identify a natural strength.
How to quickly find your strengths?
Due to their innate nature, strengths are easily noticeable to everyone but you. But if you pay close attention to your everyday, you will be able to discover or rediscover them:
- by renewing your thought pattern. Don’t give up on yourself and your self growth. Make up your mind not to live your life on the side walk. Most people spend time improving their flaws and not their strengths. It is clear that they would have been further if they did otherwise.
- by reverting back to the memories of your childhood and recalling what you did well and with pleasure. On account of, at that period, the “system” had not affected nor perverted you yet: the main personality traits and what you were gifted with at a younger age remained unchanged.
- by looking for a common thread in the things that immediately and sustainably attract your attention throughout your life experiences. I usually spend my time reading entrepreneur, management and leadership books and blogs at any hour of the day.
- by reading books, gaining knowledge, relating to the people in the books and by practicing what you have just learnt on different occasions.
- by engaging a professional to help identify your strengths and how to employ them.
- by taking well-known online tests, such as StrenghtsFinder2.0 and StandOut, and cross referencing them.
- by directly asking the people closest to you, going through your notes and emails or by taking into account your annual performance review. Because of the dark side of human nature, your review as much as people’s advice can be totally biased. There will certainly be a discrepancy between what people think of me, what I think of myself and who I really am.
- by surrounding yourself with supporting people. Stay away from yes men, undermining people or groups who hide your strengths, highlights your weaknesses and constantly criticize your work.
- by simply seeking the truth about yourself and being unafraid of failure or the said truth. Work gradually on yourself and you will be able to build a career more successfully on a strength.
Last words of advice!
First of all, improving strengths is nothing without character.
Talent doesn’t have to be impressive and loud but you must find a way to translate it into something. Sometimes, through life, you are using your strength unknowingly until you are prepared to use it: your passions have probably made you invest enough time into a career path to develop the necessary skills and knowledge. However, if your strength does not fit any career, create one for yourself!
Remember not to feel limited to having one talent and make up your mind not to live your life on the side-walk. And leave your dreams and connect with them.
Don’t hesitate to become an expert of you!
Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!
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