In the first few weeks of BCM 313 we were given several exercises which has allowed us to know more about ourselves in two ways: Through assessing our own values through answering questions and through asking others. In the future of work, an important aspect of progressing in the workplace is to recognise your strengths and weaknesses, as well as the values and traits you carry. Many scholars highlight this as an integral part of one’s progression in their field.
Beth Kuhel from the Personal Branding Blog says that “Research shows that it’s better to focus on your talents and uncover what you do well than to dwell on the areas you need to improve”.
In the first class of the subject we had to do was to ask a family member, a workmate and a friend to describe you in one word. My father said ‘Hardworking’, my workmate said ‘Diva’ and my best friend said ‘D*$%head’. These are things I already know, the word my best mate used is certainly in good spirits as we both love to go at each other with insults, a value we both love. The word my workmate used is definitely the word to sum up what I already know: At my work (retail), I do like things to run smoothly. So when things don’t, and I’m the one that has the responsibility, I do get a little fierce.
We also filled out an online questionnaire in which I learned that I was a planner. Someone who loved to go about situations with a set plan. This I didn’t really notice about myself until now as I often believed that unplanned experiences do offer some unique opportunities or fun, but it did show my preference is to stay with planned events.
Another exercise is we had to interview and be interviewed by random students in our classroom who we didn’t know. The structure for these interviews revolve around four questions which are modelled around the ideas put forth by the scholar Michael White. The questions we had to ask were:
- What was happening when you decided to do something that turned out well? What’s the basic story?
I do boxing, and in practice I was sparring a guy much taller than me and I was getting dominated in the first round, because he was hitting me easily, and I couldn’t reach him cos of his height, and the fact I’m much much shorter . In the beginning of the second round I worked out I need to get closer and brawl, which made him uncomfortable, and allowed for me to find a lot of success as his long arms weren’t able to hit me up close, and I, being the shorter more compact guy, could land good shots from the inside.
- Broadly, what do you think you were intending to do when you made this decision or choice?
Just working strategically how I can beat this guy
- Specifically, what value do you think you might have been trying to put into action? Can you see other times when this value has guided your actions, or is this new for you?
Relentlessness and problem solving
- Who knows about you that you would act in this way? Who supports or appreciates this intention that you have?
My friends and coach
Reflecting on this made me realise I have a relentless attitude and I’m competitive. I believe by deconstructing and reflecting on our movements and decisions, from there we can identify values which we demonstrated at the time. From recognising our values, we can reflect on who in our lives we know would act this way.
What these exercises did for me was that I was able to learn the qualities that I hold. I learnt that I am someone who loves to stick to plans, I have a strong work ethic and I always stay true to my values. But by having a strong work ethic, I might come off stubborn in problem solving situations. I’m good in teamwork, however if I was in a leadership position I’d struggle. So in retrospect to what these questions in class have taught me, in the workplace, I believe realistically recognising your qualities is the quintessential step in advancing in a career. So I took a look at some media sources which highlight this.
In another article by Leader Economics, the importance of recognising and working on your strengths is acknowledged as it says “Many people ask if it’s more worth their time to just focus on strengths or work on improving weaknesses? Generally, it would be better to focus more on your strengths”. I really liked this viewpoint as, why not build on your strengths to me yourself a master at what you’re good at.
An activity this article had which is similar to those in class is that you pick 5 qualities from table 1 and from table 2, and put them in order in which number 1 represents you the most and number 5 represents you the least. Notice the difference between table 1 and 2?? Table 1 focuses on the positive qualities you are aware of, and table 2 focuses on the more negative associated qualities you recognise.
In this forbes article the writer says that “if you are looking to advance your career, finding and leveraging your workplace strengths is perhaps the most important thing you can do. “Strengths, motivation and task interest often go hand in hand, and when these three are in force, your performance will definitely show it and help your progression. But if you are stuck in a position that doesn’t leverage your strengths, your drive and performance will suffer along with your career advancement.” The last sentence I found the most important as it is true, if you can’t take advantage of your strengths, you’re slowing or halting your progression.
Kuhel, B. (2018). Want to Improve? Know Your Strengths – Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career. [online] Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career. Available at: http://www.personalbrandingblog.com/want-to-improve-know-your-strengths/ [Accessed 29 Aug. 2018].
Pillay, H. (2018). Why It’s Important To Know Your Strengths And Weaknesses. [online] Leaderonomics.com. Available at: https://leaderonomics.com/personal/why-its-important-to-know-your-strengths-and-weaknesses [Accessed 29 Aug. 2018].
Smith, J. (2018). How To Identify Your Workplace Strengths. [online] Forbes.com. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/08/30/how-to-identify-your-workplace-strengths/#49c5a0d311d3 [Accessed 29 Aug. 2018].