When was the last time you stepped back and asked yourself: “What am I good at?” or “What are my strengths?” For many of us, we usually don’t take the time to recognize what value we bring to our work worlds or personal lives. We go through our daily routines, never focusing on how we shine or make a difference. We aren’t serving ourselves well or sharing our best side, if we are unaware of the skills and strengths we can offer.
One manager in one of my workshops had some extraordinary ideas about developing a project for his team. He was a talented designer and had the ability to see the big picture. But instead of communicating his additions or changes to the team, he just let the project continue in the same direction. He couldn’t see how essential it was for him to speak up and share his ideas and strengths.
Has this ever happened to you? Are you aware of your gifts and how they can impact an outcome?
Five valuable questions to locate your leadership gifts:
1. What excites you?
Although keying into what gets us out of bed in the morning may be difficult to pinpoint or feel not relevant, it is oil that gets our motors running. Think about what you value most and enjoy doing. Does this relate to your daily routine in any way? If the answer is yes, then you are on the right path. If your answer is no, then it may be time to re-evaluate some of your choices.
2. What have you always excelled at?
Take a look back through your childhood to the present and notice patterns of where you really shined.
- Are you strong in analyzing situations deeply?
- Can you step back easily and see what is the essential problem without getting caught up in the details?
- Is your talent being able to connect people with different perspectives?
- Are you artistic and still looking for a place in your career to share that side?
3. What do other people ask your advice about?
This question can be the critical one to see how we make a difference. In your workplace, what questions and issues seem to land in your lap most often? Are you the keeper of certain specialties that the people around you rely on? Do your boss and co-workers touch base first with you before finalizing a decision on a specific area? Be aware and see how your expertise is being depended on.
4. What comes naturally?
It is said that the strengths and abilities that seem to come easy to each of us may be our true gifts. Look at all your accomplishments along the way and recognize what seems to just roll out of your mind freely. When we can pinpoint our natural gifts and talents, we can play to them, rather than dwell on our weaknesses or blind spots.
5. Where have you made the greatest impact?
We all may have many jobs or even careers in our lifetime, yet we probably will leave our mark in just some of those places.
- Can you remember a person who grew because of you?
- Is there a particular type of project or assignment you changed for the better?
- Are there people or a team who modeled your direction and as a result achieved great heights?
- Is there a cause that you found meaningful and spent many hours volunteering?
How do you locate your leadership gifts?