Investing in and creating a strength-based culture can be the key to achieving a flourishing, inclusive and psychologically safe organization for all people.
A strength-based culture can help break down barriers and create a more equitable and inclusive workplace, enabling organizations to harness the full potential of all employees. Limiting the danger of being blinded by one’s own biases and darlings. By focusing on individual strengths and promoting a culture that values diversity and inclusion, Organizations can pave the way for minorities, gender equality and gender representation cross all levels, including leadership positions.
Traditional feedback from leaders often tends to be connected to areas of past performances or areas of improvement. There is a tendency for leaders to focus on improvement of capabilities they have themselves or even worse what is only serving them. It is with good reason that many people are dreading or hating traditional feedback. According to Gallup only 14% of employees strongly agree that the feedback they receive inspires them to perform better. Only 26% of employees strongly agree that the feedback is accurate, and only 29% strongly agree that it is fair.
In various coaching and workshop sessions we often hear women complaining about or realizing that someone else is owning their career or taking advances of their service. To many women are giving someone else the keys to their development and career. Leaders can unintendedly or intentionally own and take advantage of their people’s services and career instead of helping them flourish and progress. They mistakenly believe that their own advancement always comes first instead of also being a service to their people.
A strengths-based approach can be the strategy to limiting the risk of gender biases and stereotyping that are present to a greater extend in traditional feedback reviews. When we talk about talent, strengths, potential and skills, we are more likely to discuss opportunities for growth and not lapse into assumptions. Decisions are more often based on feelings instead of facts, personality vs. performance and being blinded in the eagerness to highlight one’s own darlings. The risk is that women end up with a list with focus on personal areas instead of how to play and invest in their strengths that more likely will increase performance. A strength-based approach will enhance and validate the performance review process and avoid the tendencies to being trapped in biases and feelings.
Below are seven arguments for why integrating a strength-based culture in organizations can be a winning ticket to promoting a meaningful and inclusive culture where all can grow and equally receive opportunities that will lead to advancement and responsibility or all:
Empowering individuals: A strengths-based culture focuses on identifying and leveraging the unique talents and apply strengths of everyone. This approach empowers individuals to recognize their unique abilities, self-development. By highlighting strengths, individuals feel valued and confident in their abilities, which can help mitigate the negative impact of biases and stereotypes. It empowers them to take ownership of their careers and make intentional decisions about their own development paths. By receiving feedback that highlights their strengths and potential, they are more likely to feel inspired and motivated to learn and perform. This, in turn, contributes to their overall career satisfaction and advancement.
Overcoming bias and stereotypes: Biases and stereotypes can limit minorities opportunities for advancement in the workplace. A strength-based culture helps challenge these biases and expectations to individual capabilities and achievements. By recognizing and promoting the strengths of individuals, organizations can counteract stereotypes and create a more level playing field for all people.
Increased confidence and self-belief: In a strength-based culture, individuals are encouraged to develop and showcase their unique strengths, which can boost confidence and self-belief. This is particularly beneficial for minorities who may face biases and organizational barriers that undermine their self-assurance and development. When minorities are empowered to recognize and utilize their strengths, they are more likely to pursue leadership roles and contribute to decision-making processes within the organization. Being valued for one’s authenticity and able to be purpose driven increase meaning, self-belief and wellbeing.
Enhanced diversity of thought and perspectives: Minority in leadership is not just about representation; it also brings a diversity of thought and perspectives to the table. A strength-based culture encourages diverse talent, to contribute their unique viewpoints, experiences, and expertise. By fostering an environment where diverse strengths are valued, organizations can tap into a broader range of ideas, improve problem-solving, and drive innovation.
Retention and talent development: Investing in a strength-based culture can contribute to the retention and development of talent. When individuals are encouraged and supported in leveraging their strengths, they are more likely to feel fulfilled, engaged, and motivated in their roles. This can lead to higher job satisfaction, increased loyalty to the organization, and reduced attrition rates.
Building inclusive leadership: A strength-based culture fosters inclusive leadership by recognizing and leveraging diverse talents and perspectives. By encouraging leaders to focus on individuals' strengths, they can create an environment that values and appreciates the diverse skills and what they bring to the table. This promotes equality by challenging traditional notions of leadership and creating opportunities for people to thrive in their authentic leadership styles.
Increasing engagement and satisfaction: Individuals who can use their strengths in the workplace are more engaged, satisfied, and productive. By adopting a strengths-based approach, organizations can create a positive work environment that encourages all to fully utilize their strengths, leading to higher levels of job satisfaction, retention, and overall inclusive culture.
There are different tools and methodologies on how to identify strengths. We recommend CliftonStrengths due to how applicable this strengths methodology is to apply in an organizational setting. Feel free to contact us if you would like to play to your strengths or know more about how a strengths-based approach.
Written by Charlotte Søndergaard