Wednesday, July 25, 2012

seeking strength

As the clock ticks on and my work fate continues to be unknown, it is getting to be time to hitch up my skirt (using that term metaphorically) and think about job hunting. No doubt I should have begun this process a good while ago, but I was feeling optimistic about my chances of staying in my present job. There is every reason to continue to feel optimistic, but I need to be smart and shift to Plan B mode.

Yesterday I was alerted by email of an article to which the AAUW (American Association of University Women) Linked-In group had linked. It had to do with the idea of leading with our strengths, as opposed to focusing too much on developing weaknesses. It also talks about the positive impact a group can experience when its leader(s) are willing to acknowledge his or her weaknesses. "Not only does this build trust in and of itself, it gives other members of the team permission to be similarly vulnerable. Great leaders understand that they don’t need to be well-rounded but that their teams do."

Included in the article was a link to a site where one could take a survey to determine character strengths. The survey is extensive, with over 200 questions, and it ranks one's strengths from first to last, focusing on the benefit of the character trait. Always grateful to be armed with knowledge that can help me understand myself better--not to mention give me language to use when job-hunting--I decided to take the survey and see what I might learn.

Although the questions on the survey weren't unlike questions on other surveys I've taken, I didn't appreciate the spectrum of values it was seeking to identify. Of the 21 characteristics, here, in order, are my top five strengths: forgiveness, fairness, honesty, judgment (as in prudent use of), and perspective. Interestingly (to me, anyway), the sixth trait was appreciation for beauty and excellence.

I have to say that I was startled to see forgiveness at the top. Not that I don't consider myself to be a forgiving person, I do. I suspect that the rankings are achieved as a result of consistency in how I responded to the questions, and my responses to questions related to forgiveness must have been more consistent than questions related to the other traits. I was also surprised to see that creativity ranked fourteenth. Creativity is such an integral part of who I am and how I thrive.  I suspect that this result is skewed because of how I deal with questions that use language like "I always..."  I also have something of a split personality when it comes to creativity--I am far more adept at being creative with ideas and solving problems than I am with the artistic side of life. I'm also better at creating an experience than I am being particularly original producing something tangible like a scrapbook layout, or quilt, or whatever.

Lastly (for the purposes of this post), I couldn't help but notice that I had difficulty with questions that wanted to get at how I was perceived by my friends. Maybe it's because my life these days is bereft of much in-person contact with friends, so the sharing of spontaneous observation or conversation around such things is limited. My inability to identify such perceptions, however, is giving me pause, not to mention cause for reflection.

If you want to take the time to take the survey, you can do so for free. A detailed interpretation of the results costs $20, but to receive the rankings costs nothing but time. I'd be interested, should any of you decide to do this, to hear about your results. 

In the meantime, I've got some work to do!


The Bug said...

I'll have to check this out sometime. I have a hard time understanding how people perceive me too - I'm always surprised when I hear what other people think about me (but I'm my own worst critic).

I'm sorry you haven't heard about the job. It's smart to start looking - especially because it's not fair for them to keep you dangling like this. Good luck!

Mary Beth said...

Can't believe you are still waiting. Bah!

I took the survey. My top strengths were gratitude, spirituality, and love. Not surprising... :)

Jayne said...

I've been wondering about the outcome of the job situation and am stress with you that they've still not made a decision! I think it's a good thing to really look at ourselves, our strengths, and our warts, and applaud you for that my friend. (By the way, I'm back in the world of blogging again as of today. We'll see how it goes. xoxo)

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