Spotting Strength You Popey MomentWhat comes to your mind first, when you think of strengths? Well, for me it is “Popeye” – one of my favorite cartoon characters. He would do anything to overcome obstacles to first and foremost please Olive Oyl. His love of spinach which he eats in large quantities to boost his strength is legendary (though we know now that the exceptionally high iron content in spinach is a misconception). “Popeye” said that he was strong to the finish, ‘cause he eats his spinach.

What makes you strong? What are the strengths in your team? How often do you do strengths-spotting? Is strengths-spotting already an integral part of your daily leadership activities?

Have a “Popeye” Moment and find out more about your individual key strengths by investing 5 minutes to complete this free online assessment: http://inspiredexecutives.pro.viasurvey.org

Let me share some important background information on strengths-spotting with you. Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology, and Christopher Petersen together with more than 50 social scientists have researched character strengths and virtues for understanding, discussing, and describing core capacities in human beings. The following overview shows you the universal ingredients of goodness in human beings across cultures, nations, and beliefs aligned with the six virtues – these are the 24 character strengths:

Wisdom (Head Strengths) Courage (Heart Strengths) Humanity (Strengths of Others)
  • Creativity
  • Curiosity
  • Love of learning
  • Judgment
  • Perspective
  • Bravery
  • Perseverance 
  • Honesty 
  • Zest
  • Love 
  • Kindness 
  • Social intelligence 
Temperance (Strengths of Self) Justice (Community Strengths) Transcendence (Strengths of Spirit)
  • Forgiveness
  • Humility 
  • Prudence 
  • Self-regulation
  • Fairness 
  • Leadership
  • Teamwork 
  • Appreciation of beauty & excellence
  • Gratitude 
  • Humor 
  • Spirituality 
  • Hope

© http://www.viacharacter.org/

As described in our article “Believing in Change” (‘negativity bias’), it is relatively easy to spot the worst in others. However, appreciating others’ strengths ultimately leads to better performance. That is why you are invited to ask yourself: How can you create the habit of spotting strengths in others?

Start by setting the intention to see your people’s strengths in the next meeting or interaction. When do they feel energized or excited? What are the moments when they seem really engaged, enjoying what they are talking about or doing?

Continue by reflecting on the strengths you saw in action. Use the above VIA overview of 24 character strengths. Which positive traits did you spot? When did they light up or seemed most authentic?

Follow-through by sharing some informal feedback or a compliment, for example in a subsequent phone call, or thank you note. Give them their well-deserved “Popeye” Moment. If you spotted fairness in someone, you could, for instance, congratulate her on admitting a mistake, or sharing your appreciations for her empathy and compassion. Or if you saw humor in someone, you could, for example, thank him for bringing smiles on peoples’ faces and lightness into the situation.

Strengths-spotting or creating “Popeye” Moments for yourself and others helps you to have better relationships and communication with your team and at home, be happier, boost performance, and accomplish goals. Coaching with Inspired Executives can have a spinach effect and include an assessment and report on your character strengths: http://inspiredexecutives.pro.viasurvey.org (multiple languages are available!).

“Life is full of surprises and you never know what you’re going to get until you get it; always expect the unexpected.” Popeye, the sailorman

Wishing you many memorable “Popeye” Moments and thriving strengths,

Annette and the Inspired Executives Team.