Recognizing and Fostering Strengths

It has been three quarters since all of the teachers at Feaster Charter completed the online strengths assessment. Within those three quarters, a lot has happened and some of us, although this may be rare, may have developed new strengths! It is crucial that you, yourself, recognize what your strengths are and, almost more importantly, that you exemplify them in the responsibilities that you take on as well as in your daily conversations.

When we recognize our own strengths and work to continue fostering them, we are continuously learning, just like we would always expect our students to do! However, we also can get support from others around us. This means that our professional peers can have a huge impact when they recognize and supporting our strengths.

11.17 P21 Image Strengths, Interests, Values

What are Your Strengths?

Take the time to reflect back on what your Gallup Strengths Finder results said about you! What actions do you embody that reflect these strengths? Do you feel these results are accurate? Why or why not? (See Gallup Strength Finder – All Strengths for a description of each strengths).

Starting with an understanding of what your strengths are as well as an understanding of what you are doing that represents these strengths can be powerful because it will help you develop ,or maybe even just recognize, both professional and personal skills that you are already have a talent for.

How to Communicate Your Strengths

Beyond just showing your strengths through your actions and statements, it is also important to let others know what your particular skills are. This can be done by seeking professional opportunities that allow you to showcase your strengths. For example, when I first started teaching, I knew that one of my strengths was writing, specifically writing that showcases programs and practices and writing that explains a need that our students have. Knowing this about myself, I joined a grant writing committee with four other teachers. While on that committee, my top Gallup strength – achiever (meaning that I need to accomplish something), began to develop. I began to break large grants down into manageable tasks and I would support the team as we worked together to compose the lengthy documents needed. This is not the only way to communicate your strengths, it does not solely need to be done through your actions or the tasks that you take on:

  • take the lead on tasks that apply to your strengths
  • let your team know what your strengths are
  • ask others about their strengths
  • hold reflective conversations about assigned tasks and duties, discuss if they are still best matched for the people who were assigned to do them
  • when deciding on roles and responsibilities within the team as well as within the school, reflect on how the strengths of each member can be applied

Ways to Continue Developing Your Strengths

Seek out new learning opportunities by looking online and finding out what is going on in your area or what is applicable online.  When we get connected with other educators who share our same interests, we have the opportunity to continue our learning and push our thinking. This can be done many ways:

  • Podcasts
    • Get new ideas and feel inspired by educators who are sharing their thoughts
  • Twitter
    • Connect with other educators who share your interests by following them, reading their posts, and contributing to Twitter Chats
  • Book Clubs
    • Get a group of educators together and read a book that is relevant
  • District and Public PD Opportunities
  • MOOCS (Massive Online Open Courses)
    • Free online courses that can help you learn more about what you are interested in or can help you develop skills in areas that are not your strengths
  • Read blogs 
    • Continuous content from other educators
  • Watch vlogs 
    • Video blogs that include visual representations of what is going on

Staying literate can be one of the most effective ways to continue developing your strengths and to work on area that may not be your strength.  There are many forms of communication and learning opportunities that can be not only effective but also efficient because they can be done on your own time without being constrained to the schedules of others.

Ways to Celebrate the Strengths of Others

Celebrating the strengths of others can help our peers stay passionate about what they are doing and it also helps them feel empowered. We can do this by recognizing their strengths and supporting them by sharing learning opportunities that apply to their strengths.

It is important to not only recognize the strengths, but also to reflect on them with your teams throughout the year! This will help us think about how our strengths work together as a team and allow us to reflect on how we are working to support other people’s strengths.

On each classroom, you should see a sign that shows all of the strengths of each teacher! Take the time to look at these and reflect on how you can better foster the strengths of these educators on site. This will help build a closer community and get us all  to continue working together effectively in order to best support each learner on our campus.

Screen Shot 2018-03-11 at 5.48.05 PM

When we are reflecting on our strengths and the strengths of others, we should alway err on the side of positivity. It can be easy to get bogged down with other tasks that take up our time and do not help us foster or embody these strengths. That is why it is so important to communicate your own strengths! When we do this, the hope is, that our teams and people we interact with will be more aware of what our strengths are. In addition, those same tasks that are bogging us down, may involve something that is relevant to one of our team members’ strengths! We may never recognize this unless we all work together to start communicating and apply each others’ strengths.

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