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AMiable Solution #248: Flexing Muscles



This weekend, women from across the Baltimore area will compete in the sixth annual Charm City Strongwoman Contest to test their strength and endurance. Created in memory of Charlotte Bohn, who died in February 2015 after a three year battle with colon cancer. The contest challenges participants with five mind-boggling (at least to the less fit among us) events.

In addition to throwing 10 - 12 pound medicine balls over 10’ and 12’ bars using one hand only, these ladies will repeatedly press 85 - 135 pound “logs” above their heads for 60 seconds. They’ll attempt to pull a truck 75 feet using only their hands and their strength. They’ll carry a weighted yoke 50 feet. And they’ll have to see how many times they can lift a 95 - 135 pound “stone” to their shoulders in one minute. The women, and the results, will assuredly be impressive.

Which leads us to wonder…are you flexing all of your marketing muscles at work? Are all your marketing skills getting a regular workout to build strength and results?

What about your teammates? Do they have strengths that aren’t being utilized? Are they missing out on opportunities to grow?

Gallup workplace management analysts James Harter and Amy Adkins discovered that focusing on employees’ strengths does far more than give employees an intellectual workout.

In fact, in their Harvard Business Review article, “What Great Managers Do to Engage Employees” (April 2, 2015), they say that when employers build on employees’ strengths instead of fixating on their weaknesses, employees “learn their roles more quickly, produce more and significantly better work, stay with their company longer, and are more engaged.”

How much more engaged? According to a study at the time, 67% of employees who said their bosses focus on their strengths said they are engaged in their work. Only 31% of those who said their managers focus on their weaknesses are likewise engaged.

Unlike dragging a full-sized truck across a parking lot, helping your employees flex their muscles and showcase their strengths isn’t hard.

“The most powerful thing a manager can do for employees,” Harter and Adkins say, “is to place them in jobs that allow them to use the best of their natural talents, adding skills and knowledge to develop and apply their strengths.”


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