Exploring the strengths-based approach for Graduates – Part 1 of 4
“So, tell me about yourself…”
This is the question that most graduates dread. Across the country, hearts sink as graduate interviewees ponder where they should begin.
“Well, what are your strengths and weaknesses?” continues your potential future employer.
At this point, it’s hard to contain the groan that’s creeping up your throat. You wonder if you should pretend to have no weaknesses at all. But would that be truthful… or realistic? Perhaps you should have more strengths than weaknesses, if you’re the ideal employee? In the end, you feign a coughing fit to give yourself time to think!
Find your strengths
In this situation, we would recommend taking a STRENGTHS-BASED APPROACH. A strength is a combination of talent, skill and knowledge. You know your strengths because you recognise when you’re functioning at your best. Writers talk of being “in the zone”. The hours pass and they don’t even notice the clock ticking as they hone their creative skills. The same applies to artists, to electricians, to software developers… in fact, to anyone who’s working to their strengths. When you know what your strengths are, you’ll be at your most productive because you’re working from a place where you feel strongest and happiest.
The 4 Strengths Domains
Under the Gallup approach, there are 34 main strengths and they can be categorised into four domains: EXECUTOR, STRATEGIC THINKER, INFLUENCER and RELATIONSHIP BUILDER. Let’s look at EXECUTOR first.
EXECUTORS can’t bear to leave anything undone. They like to be busy and productive! They set goals and make sure they meet them. But sometimes executors need to be careful in case they overstretch themselves and wear themselves out.
Now here is what’s very different about this approach to working to your strengths: there are DIFFERENT types of EXECUTORS.
How does your strength differ from another’s?
When you go into a job interview and say, “My strength is that I am an Executor, I like to get things done”, that’s not really going to tell the interviewer anything different from what the next man might tell him. What you need to do is to explain why your type of Executor is different to another person’s. And that’s what the strengths based approach allows you to do.
Here are the different types of ways a person may be an Executor – see which one most describes you
1. Achiever – An achiever is a person who has lots of stamina and loves to accomplish all of their daily tasks in a timely manner. Achieving as much as possible is what makes them tick!
2. Arranger – An arranger is a person who has exceptional coordination skills. They’re adaptable and can respond to the unexpected. They’re good managers, efficient and able to maximise productivity.
3. Belief – People who are “believers” are transparent and honest and they hold heartfelt values. They’re thoughtful and they like to do things in the right way.
4. Consistency – People who fall into this category set clear rules and adhere to them strictly. They believe in equal rights and respect for others. They’re always fair and just.
5. Deliberative – A deliberative person is careful about the choices they make. They think about every tiny detail before taking action to ensure they’ve made the right decision.
6. Discipline – A person who is defined by discipline is skilled at planning and organising. They’re highly efficient and can establish routines, instructions and timelines.
7. Focus – People who fall into this category love to be up to date. They always keep on track. They focus on doing one thing at a time and, in this way, they achieve a lot. Nothing seems to break their concentration.
8. Responsibility – A responsible person is dependable and hard-working. They always produce excellent work. They show commitment and take ownership of all they do.
9. Restorative – People who are restorative are good at seeing the problem, identifying the cause of it and resolving it. People tend to approach them if they have a problem to solve because they’re analytical and thorough.
How many of these ways of executing do you recognise in yourself? Are you an EXECUTOR by nature? Can you think of times when you’ve demonstrated these strengths? What are the benefits of executing in the way you do?
Next time, we’ll focus on STRATEGIC THINKERS. Meanwhile, go sell your skills and get that top job!