Timotay Landscapes Shortlisted to Compete in this Year’s APL Avenue Show Garden Competition at BBC Gardeners’ World Live Timotay Playscapes
How Kinderly has Transformed My Early Years Setting Kinderly
How the EYN Partnership can Enhance your Setting’s Reputation for Excellence in Nutrition Early Years Nutrition Partnership
Kinderloop is Taking the Stress out of Recording Planning and Observations Kinderloop
Little Feet, Big Change Living Streets
Teach Early Years Magazine Subscribe today!
Teach Primary Magazine Subscribe today!
Teach Secondary Magazine Subscribe today!
Technology and Innovation Magazine Order now!
Teach Reading and Writing Magazine Order now!
Oxford University Press Courses
If you spend your time trying to correct your weaknesses, you won’t be energised or happy
Timotay Landscapes Shortlisted to Compete in this Year’s APL Avenue Show Garden Competition at BBC Gardeners’ World Live
2018 World Cup Printable Flags for all 32 Countries
“We Need 47k More Teachers” – 7 Things we Learnt at this Year’s Festival of Education
2018 World Cup Country Factfiles – Printable PDFs for all 32 Teams
You may have heard about the strengths movement – it’s an approach to understanding, recruiting and developing people that has its roots in humanistic psychology.
Forward-thinking organisations are adopting it. Its core philosophy is that the most positive and productive thing we can do is to be more of who we are, not to try to be something different
So what exactly is a strength? It is something that someone is naturally good at, loves doing and is energised by.
Our strengths are innate. We know from neurobiology that they are developed by the time we reach our mid-teens. By then we are who we are and don’t change very much. We can learn new skills or acquire new knowledge, but what we are like as a person fundamentally doesn’t change that much.
An example of a strength is loving to connect with other people. Have you ever noticed that great baristas in coffee shops do this? They can’t help it – they can’t not do it.
Another example is the athlete who is naturally competitive. They just have to win. It’s part of who they are.
Think of your own strengths as something that you can’t not do. These questions will help you start to uncover your natural strengths:
The chances are that those activities that came to mind when you thought about the questions above are drawing on your natural strengths (including your motivators and values). In contrast, think about the following:
These are likely to be things that don’t draw on your strengths. Indeed, they may call for you to use your weaknesses. We’re all human and we all have weaknesses. If you spend the majority of your time trying to fix your weaknesses, though, you won’t be energised or happy.
Knowing your own strengths means you can become much more effective as you use them more often and more consciously. It also means you can more readily identify others’ strengths and appreciate them. This goes for the children in your care, of course.
Knowing a child’s strengths, values and motivators is like having a personalised ‘manual’ for understanding that child. Are they always drawn to others, do they love to help, do they love things to be tidy, do they like to be in charge?
It’s important not to label people too early, but it’s certainly helpful to notice what they are drawn to.
Knowing about and applying strengths-based thinking can make a big difference to a child if…
They lack confidence or self belief – being appreciated for their strengths can change the way people (not just children!) think and feel about themselves. They can go from having very low self-belief to being quite confident just by being validated for their strengths.
They’re very unlike you, so you find it hard to relate to them – it’s hard for any of us to relate to people who are unlike us.
If you’re a teacher or a parent who, say, is naturally optimistic and your child is very analytical and spots flaws in things that can come across to you as not being positive, you may find yourself constantly trying to get them to see the bright side of things.
That can be annoying to an analytical person because it’s not that they don’t want to see the bright side, it’s that they feel at home when they are in analysis mode including picking up on things that you perceive as negative.
You struggle to know how to help them make choices – it’s impossible to help someone to make good choices without knowledge of who they really are, deep down. Without this knowledge you could be inadvertently encouraging them to live someone else’s life!
It’s great to encourage children to try new things so that they discover more about themselves and what they love. The more they can discover their true nature and go in that direction, the happier they will be.
As with anything, you just need to be careful not to limit them by pigeon-holing them. You can do this by encouraging them to try new things, asking them what is it that they love about the things they love, listening to them carefully and encouraging to keep trying new things to help them discover more about themselves.
Appreciating children for their strengths and encouraging them to try anything that they are drawn to can make a big difference to their confidence and happiness. Whether they like any given activity or they don’t, encourage them to reflect on what they like and don’t like. Ask them questions like these:
Of course, children can get annoyed at too many questions at once, but even asking one or two will help you to understand them.
My team and I have found in our work that discovering people’s strengths can transform their lives and help them appreciate others around them. It’s a simple, common-sense notion that athletes have long understood – thank goodness this insight is reaching other arenas now!
Sally Bibb is an author and the founding director of strengths consultancy Engaging Minds, which works with organisations in the public and private sectors.
Sally’s most recent books are The Strengths Book: How to be Fulfilled in Your Work and Life (LID Publishing) and Strengths-based Recruitment and Development (Kogan Page).
Thank you! we've
sent you a confirmation email
Flintshire, North Wales
Each of the contenders at this year’s APL Avenue Show Garden competition at BBC Gardeners’ World...
In a nutshell, what is Kapow Primary?
Authored by practising subject specialist teachers, Kapow Primary is an online resource designed to help educators deliver specialist subjects with confidence. It also assists...
These materials are intended to provide lesson ideas for Science and Literacy. The ideas and materials are suitable for children at KS1 and KS2 although some differentiation will be necessary...
These materials are intended to provide lesson ideas for Science, D&T and Literacy. The ideas and materials are suitable for children at KS1 and KS2 although some differentiation will be necessary...
“Ofsted will back mobile phone bans, teaching is tricky, and the brain isn’t a muscle.” Helen...
Using a creative writing contest has produced some surprising outcomes for the children at Garstang...
Introducing pupils to the Bard in the authentic atmosphere of the Globe can be the...
Helen Mulley reports from Wellington College where Professor Becky Allen, Tom Sherrington, Debra Kidd, Sir...