Doug Dickerson is an award winning columnist and director of Management Moment Leadership Services. He is the author of the new book, Leaders Without Borders: 9 Essentials for Everyday Leaders. Visit www.dougsmanagementmoment.blogspot.com to learn more.
Leverage Your Strength, Stress Less
by Doug Dickerson,posted Feb 11 2013 1:06PM
Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one. – Hans Selye
Are you stressed at work? If you answered in the affirmative then according to a recent Gallup poll you are among 33% of workers who said they were totally dissatisfied with the amount of stress they experienced at work. In fact only 29% were completely satisfied with the amount of stress they deal with at work.
What if there was a proven way that you can be more productive at work and reduce stress at the same time by using the strengths you already have? Would you be interested? Well, good news, there is such a way. In another Gallup poll the results found that the more hours a day Americans get to use their strengths to do what they do best, the less likely they are to report experiencing worry, stress, anger, sadness, or physical pain.
The findings are based in part from more than a half-century of studying human strengths and more than 7.8 million people who have taken Gallup’s Clifton Strengths Finer assessment, which tests 34 specific, unique strengths since its inception in 1998. Gallup found that the more hours per day adults believe they use their strengths, the more likely they are to report having ample energy, feeling well rested, being happy, smiling or laughing a lot, learning something interesting, and being treated with respect.
A function of good leadership within your business or organization is found in learning how to leverage the strengths of your people for maximum benefit. The study reveals that when employees feel a more personal and meaningful connection with their work the more productive they will be. Gallup data shows that employees who simply learn their own strengths are 7.8% more productive. Developing those strengths motivates employees to learn how to apply themselves and makes them far more likely to care whether their activities are profitable.
Leaders who desire to help their employees can do so by tapping into the strengths and by making sure they are leveraging those strengths at all levels. Here are three ways to get started.
Create leverage with the right people in the right place. It is a simple revelation of the survey. When your employees are playing to their strengths they will be happier, more energetic, and less stressed. When your team members are properly aligned with their skill sets it creates a dynamic that is effective not just for them but for the company. Square pegs don’t fit in round holes and the same applies to the skill sets of your people. If skills are not properly aligned to the right people then it will be hard for your company to succeed.
Create leverage with respect and dignity. When employees are treated with respect and dignity they performed better. It is no secret that incivility in the workplace is of increased concern for many and bullying remains problematic. Stress rises and productivity falls when workers are disrespected, and if they believe they are not contributing in a meaningful way. When a leader helps to create an environment where respect and civility abounds, trust and camaraderie follows and you can expect to have happier and more productive employees.
Create leverage by creating your workplace culture. The culture of your organization is a created by adapting a shared core of beliefs which are a combination of your vision (where you are going) and your mission (the shared values that guide you). It is up to those in leadership to create a culture where everyone has the potential to succeed, and it is the responsibility of everyone to live up to it.
The strength of your leverage is found by matching the right people to the right tasks, by treating everyone with dignity and respect, and by creating a culture in which everyone can live up to their potential.