Can you talk about your strengths?

“My boss doesn’t value me or my input.” How many times have you had that thought? How many times have you griped to your friends or coworkers, “This company just won’t let me do what I’m capable of!”

I’ve been there. I’ve been frustrated and angry that I wasn’t truly seen for what I offer, valued for what I bring to the mix, or allowed to work on projects I’d do really well. In my case, I hadn’t learned that to succeed in any field, I needed to know what I was good at. I also needed to articulate it clearly to others, like my boss and my co-workers.

My client Bob really struggled with this. He (like many of us) were raised believing the notion that you simply need to work hard and others will notice and reward you. He has since decided that others are often very busy sorting out their own problems and concerns, and just don’t have time to focus on him or what he does well.

Bob was very frustrated at the lack of recognition in his job. So he got a new one. He encountered the same problem again. And changed jobs again. After the same thing happened at a third company, Bob decided maybe there was another way.

That was when he realized that while he wanted recognition from others, he wasn’t very clear on what his strengths were or what he was doing that deserved recognition. He began to do some digging and identified his strengths and skills. He began to keep what I refer to as a Master Accomplishments List, which is a master list of all his accomplishments and achievements from his paid and volunteer work history.

At his next performance review, Bob took a portion of that list to his boss to be sure she knew what he had achieved. She was appreciative of this list and they had a good conversation about Bob’s contribution to the company. Bob felt acknowledged at last. As a result of his conversation, he got assigned to some new projects that he was really interested in.

When Bob decided to change jobs the next time, he again was able to use his ability to describe his strengths and skills to hiring managers. His master accomplishments list provided him concrete examples to talk about during interviews. Bob now feels much more in control of his career, and even better, his satisfaction on the job.

Do you know what you’re great at? Do you know how to talk about your strengths and skills and the value you bring the mix at your job? If you’ve had an experience like Bob (or me), I’d love for you to share your discoveries on my blog.


2 comments to Can you talk about your strengths?

  • Jonni Lukenbill-Bowles, M.S., NCC, LPC

    I find that it helps clients to administer & thoroughly discuss the MBTI & StrengthsFinder in order to discover strengths. This can also help clients learn how to present their strengths to others (eg. The boss).

    • Jonni –
      Thanks for your comments. I have used both MBTI and StrengthsFinder, and they certainly have their place. I have also found other tools that are more personalized that can be used to help a person identify, embrace and articulate their strengths. The bottom line is of course finding what works for an individual, what is most helpful for each person to recognize and embrace their strengths, and develop the skils to talk about them.



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