The Number One Thing You Can Do to be More Engaged at Work

We’ve all been there before: bored at work, drudging through the daily grind as we live for the weekend. How can we go from this monotonous day-to-day to a more lively, engaging situation? By utilizing our strengths.

According to Gallup, creator of StrengthsFinder (now the CliftonStrengths assessment), people who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged in their work and three times more likely to say they have an excellent quality of life.

What are your strengths?

One of the best definitions I’ve come across is from Marcus Buckingham, author of Now, Discover Your Strengths. Buckingham defines strengths as activities that strengthen you and weaknesses as activities that weaken you, even if you’re good at them.

In other words, you could have a skill that you feel drained after doing. For example, I had a friend who was a very skilled data analyst, but hated doing it. In this case, the skill would be a weakness and not a strength.

Buckingham explains four signs of a strength:

  • Success: You feel a sense of self-efficacy

  • Instincts: You look forward to doing the activity

  • Growth: You feel focused, may lose track of time, and experience rapid learning

  • Needs: You feel fulfilled after completing the activity

One simple way to determine your strengths is by taking the CliftonStrengths assessment, which will give you a report detailing your top 5.

How can you utilize your strengths and manage your weaknesses at work?

Once you’ve identified your strengths and weaknesses, ask yourself:

  • Can I stop doing an activity that weakens me? Of course, you won’t be able to do this all of the time, but there is of course a chance that the activity won’t be missed.

  • Can I collaborate with someone else who is strengthened by what weakens me?

  • How can I purposely offer up a strength so that it becomes a valuable use of my time? In other words, how can I turn the best parts of my job into the majority of my job?

  • How can I perceive this activity through the lens of a strength? For example, if you dislike small talk in networking situations but find relating to individuals on a deeper level to be satisfying, approach meeting someone new as a way to create space to form a close, honest, and trusting relationship.


I’d love to hear from you: what are your strengths and how are you planning to incorporate them into your work on a regular basis? How are you planning to manage your weaknesses?