In an exciting change of events, we've decided to take a break from our current blog series in order to explore the many ways Strengths are being use around the country!
We all know that Strengths are exceptionally beneficial for the individual, but did you know that StrengthsFinder is also a universal tool used in a complete array of industries, including Education, Relationship Coaching, Government & Military, as well as many facets of Corporate America?
In order to HIGHLIGHT some of the creative ways Strengths are being utilized and to INSPIRE you to bring Strengths more centered into your world, we have asked some amazing Strengths Enthusiasts around the country to share with us their involvement with Strengths and why they believe it's so important for future generations!
Today, we hear from Dr. Brad Johnson and his experience with Strengths and how he is using it in our education system.
Dr. Brad Johnson:
I am an author, speaker, and educator. For the past two years, I have taught a graduate course called Ethics in Leadership. It was in this course where I was first introduced to StrengthsFinders. Before I taught the course, I first took the test to determine my own top 5 strengths, which are Maximizer, Achiever, Relator, Responsibility, and Competition. None of the strengths came as a surprise because by this point in my life, I had a pretty good idea of where my strengths lied. However, I wish I had taken the test back in my early 20’s when I was trying to find myself!
However, I knew this would be a great assessment for my graduate students to take since they were just beginning their leadership program. Since the first course I taught, I have been surprised at just how much the assessment and the course have impacted my students. I regularly receive emails from students after the course letting me know just how much they learned and how they had never realized they had leadership strengths which would help them become more effective leaders. Some students remark that they had never thought about having strengths themselves or if they did possess strengths then they must not be that important. Fortunately through my class they realize that they possess many of the same strengths as other effective leaders. It gives them confidence to realize their potential as leaders.
Unfortunately in our culture, we always focus on “weaknesses” or “areas of growth” and never give any thought to what people actually do well. Many students will explain that the only feedback they get from teacher observations for example, that it is only what they can improve upon. They have never had an administrator tell them about the talents or strengths they possess which have benefited the school. What a sad commentary on how we view ourselves in our culture. We are constantly looking for “defects” in others, almost to the point that we “fear failure” rather than focusing upon strengths, which would motivate people to “pursue excellence” instead.
One of the reasons I knew the assessment would be beneficial to my student is that after 20 years in education, I knew that leadership was not a focus in k-12 curriculum. Students are taught to follow: follow class rules, follow schedules, follow instructions, but they are never taught to be leaders. In fact the point I made earlier is the foundation of learning in school. We are quick to point out the defects in students and areas in which they need to improve. This creates a culture of fear where they are afraid to try anything because if they fail, then it is just another defect! But imagine if instead, schools were to focus on developing student strengths. Students would have confidence and feel a sense of security in taking risks, because they know it would be seen as negative but as part of developing their strengths.
When planning my latest book, What Schools Don’t Teach: 20 Ways to Help Students Excel in School and Life (Routledge), I knew I had to have a section on developing talents and strengths of students. Fortunately, I was able to draw from the expertise of Sarah, Jennifer, and Amanda, and create a chapter on developing leadership in students. They shared many stories, and activities for me to include in the book. Their passion for helping others develop their own strengths and to reach their potential is both refreshing and admirable.
Dr. Brad Johnson is an author, speaker, and educator. To learn more about Dr. Brad Click here.
To check out his book Click here.
Haven't taken Strengths yet? Click here
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Strengths-based Development (SBD) is our passion, commitment and life. Team reCreate is devoted to work that creates transformation, meaning and purpose in the lives of those we serve. This space is meant for you to get to know us, learn more about Strengths and hear from others in this line of work. Thanks for being on this journey with us!