What is the best team experience you’ve ever had? What made it good? How can it be repeated? What was the outcome? Understanding the dynamics and practices that make a team great can lead to experiencing more satisfaction and greater effectiveness, which leads to higher engagement. Let’s take a look at what that means!

Strengths-Based Team: What Is It?

“One of the more difficult concepts that [leaders]…struggle with is the ‘strengths-based team’. On the surface, it seems an easy idea. It’s a group of individuals who all use their talents and strengths to accomplish a common goal. Great! That does sound simple. It is, however, wrong. Not only is this incorrect but trying to operate like this can actually hurt a true team. A strengths-based team requires much more than everyone simply working on their strong points; it requires a deep knowledge of each team member’s strengths and weaknesses and, importantly, the orchestration of those strengths and weaknesses to fit the goals of the team. Without that orchestration, teams flounder, flail, and fight.”
(Gallup Learning and Development consultant, Ryan Darby)

A true Strengths-Based team not only is made of team members that know how to function from their own strengths, but is dynamically interacting together in awareness and co-creation with each other’s strengths. The result is powerful synergy and exponential effectiveness beyond what any group of individuals functioning on their own could ever achieve.

Why Does It Matter?

Personal Satisfaction: We are highly motivated by experiences of personal satisfaction. This isn’t selfishness – it’s the way we are designed. Our brain gives special attention to experiences that are deeply satisfying and seeks to repeat them. When our mind is being renewed according to our deepest purpose, our experience of satisfaction is also shaped by this – it’s trustworthy. Living according to our design – our Strengths – is a deeply satisfying experience. We are energized by these opportunities, we seek them out, we want to repeat them, they increase our confidence, and we feel good about our contribution. When this happens in community or on a team, the satisfaction factor is exponentially high.

Team Effectiveness: When a team is actively integrating the strengths of all team members, their effectiveness increases significantly. Gallup has identified that Effective Teams have these 4 things in Common:

  1. Common Mission and Purpose.
  2. Everyone on the team understands and appreciates that he or she is great at some things and not very good at others– Self-Awareness.
  3. Team Members are aware of each other’s talents and the implications of those talent filters – Awareness of Others.
  4. Individuals are leveraging their own strengths and partnering with team members to perform or reach shared objectives.

Here’s just one example of how this can look.
I have Intellection as one of my top strengths; Harmon has Activator.
My Intellection tends to take a thoughtful, slower, take-in-lots-of-information approach to decisions; His Activator is able to take immediate, decisive, forward moving action.
On my own, I might miss valuable opportunities due to my slow response; on his own he could overlook important considerations.
Together, we co-create a fuller, more complete process that enables us to maximize our potential.

High Engagement: Deep Personal Satisfaction + Meaningful Team Effectiveness = High Engagement. Engagement is one of our identified Member Care Priorities on the Asia Pacific region. Engagement is kind of a buzz word in organizational circles that is used to describe the atmosphere of the organizational from the team member’s perspective. When engagement is high, team members are deeply motivated to give discretionary effort – above and beyond the minimum expectations; in other words, they are personally invested. They feel seen and cared for – and therefore they feel safe to give of themselves. Gallup research indicates that functioning from a Strengths-based perspective is one of the greatest effectors toward high engagement.

What can we do about it?

Discover and Learn About Your Team! Ask everyone on your team to take the StrengthsFinders online assessment. Contact me to learn how. Then start an intentional conversation!

  • What does the assessment affirm about me that I already knew?
  • How do I invite my team members to understand these things about me?
  • What does the assessment tell me that I didn’t already know? What are my potential blind spots?
  • What can we learn about each other in regard to our greatest area of contribution to the team?
  • How do we all apply our strengths toward our shared mission and purpose?
  • Who is the greatest visionary on your team?
  • Who is the navigator that charts the course toward success?
  • Who keeps an eye on the details that could become obstacles?
  • Who ensures the ideas will be implemented?
  • Who keeps everyone connected to one another?
  • Who are your team’s cheerleaders? Who can rally everyone together?
  • Who ‘takes care’ of the team members as individuals?
  • What specific actions can you set in motion, to create a team culture where everyone recognizes and appreciates each person’s talents and strengths?
  • What processes and structures are in place for collaboration?
  • Who is involved in what levels of collaboration?
  • How does your team manage conflict?
  • How is team collaboration balanced with leadership responsibility?

Strengths-Based Team Development: Strengths development as a team is a fun, interactive, eye-opening event, facilitated by a qualified Strengths Team Coach where you’ll:

    • Explore what makes you a unique creation.
    • Discover what energizes you and why.
    • Develop new awareness for yourself and your team members.
    • Increase deep acceptance for one another’s differences.
    • Celebrate the Sacred design of your team as you demonstrate what it means to live as a Body.
    • Discover the unique purpose for You on your team.
    • Design strategies to maximize the effectiveness of your team.
    • Experience deeper interpersonal relationships through greater understanding.
    • Create an environment of high engagement and low stress.
    • Learn a language of strengths to experience more effective communication.

We have certified Strengths coaches available on the A-P region to facilitate an event for your team. Contact me to explore how your team can benefit from Strength-Based Team Development.
Upcoming topics: Strengths-Based Grace, How Strengths Help and Hinder, Strength-Based Stress Management.

 

Resources:

What Is a Strengths Based Team?
A Deeper Exploration of Each of the 34 Talent Themes
The Clifton StrengthsFinder Technical Report: Development and Validation 

Asia Pacific Strengths Coaches:
Gallup Certified Strengths Coaches: Harmon Schmelzenbach; Cindy Schmelzenbach
Strengths Champion Certified Coaches: Kafoa Muaror; Gail Dooley
Nazarene Strengths Institute Strengths Coach: Ingrid Lustana

If you are a certified Strengths Coach and are willing to provide coaching to your Asia Pacific team members, let me know!

– Cindy Schmelzenbach