How to identify and use your strengths to succeed at work

If you want to succeed professionally, only trying to fix your weaknesses will not benefit you enough.

You need to use your strengths as leverage to ensure you succeed.

The field of positive psychology has studied how your strengths can benefit you at work. Research on strengths shows that the use of your strengths can lead to greater work satisfaction, engagement, and increased productivity.


We all know that strengths are something we excel at, while our weaknesses may need improvement.

However, strengths are more than skills that we do well. Strengths have the ability to energize us while we are working.

Did you ever notice yourself involved in something where you lost track of time because you were so engaged? That’s an indication that you were using your strengths.

Strengths align with your interests and values.

“Your life interests drive your character strengths and vice versa. Bring the two together and you have a recipe for success. Interests and character strengths are two natural energy resources within us,” says Dr. Ryan Niemiec, psychologist, and author of Mindfulness and Character-Strengths: A Practical Guide to Flourishing.

People who use their strengths daily are six times more likely to be engaged on the job (according to research by Gallup) and are not as prone to experience stress or anxiety.


As much as we think we know our strengths, we tend to overestimate ourselves in some areas, while underestimating ourselves in others.

To correctly identify your strengths you can use the following tools:

  1. Gallup StrengthsFinder.
  2. Values in Action Survey (VIA)
  3. Reflected Best Self Exercise.

The first two tools are self reported i.e. you provide the inputs, The third one is an exercise developed by the faculty at the University of Michigan Ross Business School. It adds the perspective of other people.

After you try one or more of these tools, also ask yourself how you can use your strengths to achieve your key goals, reinforce your values and do better at work.

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