BY THE END OF THIS ARTICLE YOU WILL BE ABLE TO:
Analyze the distribution of VIA Strengths amongst team members
Explore applications of VIA Strengths when working with teams
Incorporate information from VIA Strengths into a Cloverleaf SWOT
VIA STRENGTHS OVERVIEW AND KEY FACTS
VIA Strengths is based on research done by Dr. Chris Peterson who oversaw and studied a team of 40 people over the course of three years. His goal was to better understand character at an individual level and how it manifested within groups. In partnership with Dr. Martin Seligman, Dr. Peterson then wrote an 800-page book on the research called Character Strengths and Virtues.
The 24 character strengths that were a result of this research make up what’s best about our personality. We can possess these 24 character strengths in different degrees, so each person has a truly unique character strengths profile.
Each character strength falls under one of these six broad virtue categories, which are universal across cultures and nations:
- Wisdom: Creativity, Curiosity, Judgment, Love-of-Learning, Perspective
- Courage: Bravery, Honesty, Perseverance, Zest
- Humanity: Kindness, Love, Social Intelligence
- Justice: Fairness, Leadership, Teamwork
- Temperance: Forgiveness, Humility, Prudence, Self-Regulation
- Transcendence: Appreciation of Beauty, Gratitude, Hope, Humor, Spirituality
“The more individuals on a team who share particular strengths, the more likely those particular character strengths will influ-ence the culture of the team. These character strengths, referred to as the team’s “Character Strengths Culture,” will affect the tone and feel of the team and will suggest action tendencies. The team’s Character Strengths Culture will influence which character strengths are most encouraged and therefore what kinds of behavior the team will tend to express with the most enthusiasm. For example, a team in which a majority of members possess curiosity may be most energetic about exploring new ideas and possibilities, whereas one high in self-regulation and perseverance may be most enthusiastic about issues of implementation such as meeting deadlines and staying on budget.”
“The character strengths that the team members have in common can be an important source of cohesion as people with the same strengths can have an affinity with one another. Yet, these strengths similarities and overlaps can sometimes become areas of conflict when people with similar strengths compete with one another for roles and assignments.“ – Source: Via Strengths Deep Dive
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APPLYING VIA STRENGTHS TO TEAMS & POSITIONING IT IN THE CLOVERLEAF SWOT
Character can be personal, so again you want to tread lightly here. You want to look for ACTIVE or INACTIVE Strengths. The visuals on the Cloverleaf Dashboard are going to give you exactly what you need here:
VIA Strengths is one of the assessments you may use far less than the others during the Cloverleaf SWOT. It is a great place to look when you get stuck or when you are trying to find a trend to support other trends you see.
Look towards the top of the list and look at where a strength is possessed by the MOST amount of people. In the image shared above you will see that Love of Learning is the strength that the most amount of people on the team possess.
Most of these strengths are pretty easy to speak to, but in this case you would position this as a strength. Teams that have a high number of members who have Love of Learning as an active strength will be more open to change, training and development and bringing in outside ideas to improve the quality of services, products or deliverables. This openness to learn and grow creates a team ready to incorporate NEW information into OLD ideas. They will be more likely to adopt new ways of operating and thinking which can increase productivity, performance and even profitability.
This is one example of how to position a character strength shared by many people on the team, and many of them are self-explanatory. Again, you may be less likely to use this assessment, so pull it in when you need it.
WEAKNESSES & OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH
When there are inactive strengths, there is an opportunity for growth or it can show up as a weakness depending on which strengths are inactive. You can avoid using VIA Strengths in the “Threats to Growth & Productivity” area of the Cloverleaf SWOT as this assessment is less transactional and more about culture and relationships.
In the image above, this team has 3 out of the 4 strengths in the Temperance category as inactive (Humility, Prudence, Self-Regulation). This tends to be the category that winds up to be the least populated with active strengths. The example below will illustrate more how to position it within the Cloverleaf SWOT which can be either a weakness OR an opportunity for growth.
We hope this guide is valuable in helping you maximize your ability to lead teams through making the most of Cloverleaf!
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