Earlier this year, I wrote about how resourcefulness can critically impact decision-making skills. It boosts your confidence when you succeed at something that you’ve never done before. A resourceful approach allows you to engage with new tasks without fearing the unknown or being paralysed by it.
The article caused few discussions. After reading it, even people I didn’t know before contacted me to share their thoughts. One of the most interesting questions I’ve received was this – do you think there is a connection between being aware of your strengths and being confident?
I believe knowing your strengths is the simplest step to being more confident. Curiously, identifying your strengths can also enhance self-development and leadership.
Boost your confidence
Knowing your strengths helps you navigate the world more confidently. Imagine you carry a toolbox with you wherever you go. Each time you case a new challenge, you look into your toolbox and equip yourself with any helpful tool.
One could argue that the ability to do something is already enough to do it. However, we react to new challenges emotionally (unknown scares us), especially if we are not confident at all. While scrolling through the strength toolbox, we gain the necessary time to take a deep breath, apply a resourceful approach and decide how to proceed. Once we have our toolbox and use it habitually, we will remember our strengths without looking into them each time.
Most of the people I have asked to tell me what their strengths are, we’re able to mention 5 to 7 qualities and skills. Probed further, they struggled and often needed some time to name a few more. Additionally, I noticed that they often had difficulties translating certain qualities of their characters or behaviours into strengths.
We don’t usually spend our Sunday morning reflecting on our life, accomplishments, successes, failures, lifestyle, and habits over a cup of coffee. Curiously, it is one of the most empowering exercises. Learning to see ourselves clearly helps us become self-aware as opposed to self-conscious. Self-awareness (or self-reflection) is also one of the traits of responsible leaders.
Strengthen your communication and people skills
Effective communication is another trait of responsible leaders, combined with compassion, kindness, a growth mindset and feedback-giving skills. I believe strengths-based leadership is one of the most engaging, enriching and gratifying leadership styles. It includes investing in others’ strengths, getting people with the right strengths on your team and being considerate of the needs of your followers.
By creating a work environment that is engaging and appropriately challenging, a leader can develop a sense of belonging, growth, and contributions. It contributes to retention, trust and loyalty in the team.
It is, however, essential to know your strengths before one can concentrate on the strengths of others. With grown self-awareness and confidence, communication skills evolve naturally. The ability to self-reflect encourages kindness and open-mindedness. They strengthen communication and other people’s skills even further.
How to know your strengths?
There are several psychological reasons it can be hard to identify your strengths. On the one hand, our minds are wired to focus on the negative because recognising threats used to be essential for survival. We drag these prehistoric impulses into our modern world; therefore, we first notice the weaknesses.
On the other hand, our minds are hardwired to compare (for the exact evolutionary reason). Hence, we compare ourselves to the highest achievers and icons we follow.
Neither makes sense in today’s world, still, we religiously practise these habits daily. The good news is that we can change habits if we are determined and aware.
Our strengths include our natural talents, learned skills and competencies, and experiences. Ask yourself:
- What is it that you can do effortlessly?
- What do you do when you are lazy but still have to complete a task?
- How do you do things when they are demanding?
- What advantages do you have that no one else has?
- What do you do better than anyone else
- What tasks do you most often end up taking care of?
- What achievements are you most proud of?
- What values do you believe in?
- How do your family members, friends and colleagues describe you?
- What roles do you naturally assume when in your (familiar/friendly/professional/unknown) circle?
- What qualities are listed in your latest professional reference letter?
I bet your list is way more extensive now than it had been before this exercise 🙂 Enjoy! If you want to dig deeper, try my Strength finder in the Document Library.