How often are we told that we need to look at our weaknesses and improve in these areas? There is definitely a culture of focusing on our weaknesses with the aim of improving our ability. There is, of course, some benefit to this, particularly if we are talking about a skill. The more we practice the better we get at things.
But according to an increasing amount of research, focusing on our strengths can lead to greater productivity and job satisfaction, as well as improved coping with stress.
We all have different character strengths, traits that make us good people. Things like Honesty, Kindness, Love, Judgement, Humour … In fact, psychologists have outlined 24 different character traits that they say are strengths. When we identify what ours are we firstly acknowledge the things we are good at. This in itself can have a very positive impact on self esteem and confidence. If you are good at making fair, honest judgements, this is a huge strength. If you use humour to make people’s day better or help students to learn, this is a huge strength. We need to acknowledge what we are good at and then use these wonderful traits more.
You can actually take a test to determine your strengths here: VIA Character
I am not suggesting and neither is the research that our traits are set in stone or that you should never try to develop new character traits. But the overwhelming research suggests that we shouldn’t deny our strengths either. Using your strengths in all parts of your life is believed to lead to greater happiness, fulfilment and productivity.
In the Positive Teacher Toolkit there is in-depth training on this important topic. When it comes to teachers feeling fulfilled in their work, being able to relate to other teachers who have very different personalities and increasing their productivity in an ever increasingly busy world learning about and applying our strengths is essential. If you’re interested in buying the Toolkit you can do so here: PTN Toolkit.
Clare Martin is a the founder of the Positive Teacher Network who specialises in helping teachers to find the ultimate Work Life Balance and supports them with many of the difficulties teachers face today.
The Positive Teacher Network provides practical tips and strategies to busy, tired teachers to help them improve their lives allowing them to focus on being great teachers.