Free Exercise for Developing Strengths in Others

This can be a great tool when introducing Strengths to your team for the first time.

Here’s an exercise I’ve used in training for developing awareness and action based on the VIA strengths assessment.

It’s often easier for us to reflect on the behaviour and potential of others before making reflections about our own development. Give it a try and post your ideas below. I’m happy for you to use the scenario…just drop in a reference if you do.

Developing Strengths in others A scenario based exercise

Catherine works in your organisation and you’re helping her to develop her strengths so that she might be better prepared for the challenges in her role. You’ve known Catherine for a while and recognise some of the strengths in her profile from your observations and interaction with her over recent months.

Catherine has been recently promoted to look after a team of 8 data analysts and is a well trained and experienced project manager, seeing herself as a process person, not a people person. Her desk is full of client reports and graphs from data analysis for upcoming client presentations. Catherine is facing a number of challenges in her role and whilst in conversation she opens up and says she’s feeling the pressure of the new position and questioning if she’s up to the role. Catherine mentions that her husband complains about not seeing much of her as she takes a lot of work home and regularly works weekends. The organisation is doing well but with a constant eye on managing costs Catherine is struggling to balance the demands of her customers, her team and her budget.

Catherine is typical of many team managers who are promoted because of their functional skills and expertise. However, the need for people skills is increasingly apparent if she is to be successful in her position.

Work in pairs to come up with some advice and guidance on how Catherine might use her character strengths to face these four challenges. Consider each strength individually and also how they might come together in combination.


1. Engaging with and motivating her team
2. Managing the expectations of her customers, typically senior decisions makers
3. Keeping to her budgeted costs
4. Improving her work-life balance

VIA Character Strengths Profile, Top 7 – Catherine Johnson, July 2014.

Thinking of new ways to do things is a crucial part of who you are. You are never content with doing something the conventional way if a better way is possible.
Thinking things through and examining them from all sides are important aspects of who you are. You do not jump to conclusions, and you rely only on solid evidence to make your decisions. You are able to change your mind.
Treating all people fairly is one of your abiding principles. You do not let your personal feelings bias your decisions about other people. You give everyone a chance.
You love learning new things, whether in a class or on your own. You have always loved school, reading, and museums-anywhere and everywhere there is an opportunity to learn.
You are an honest person, not only by speaking the truth but by living your life in a genuine and authentic way. You are down to earth and without pretence; you are a “real” person.
Although you may not think of yourself as wise, your friends hold this view of you. They value your perspective on matters and turn to you for advice. You have a way of looking at the world that makes sense to others and to yourself.
You do not seek the spotlight, preferring to let your accomplishments speak for themselves. You do not regard yourself as special, and others recognize and value your modesty.


Let me know how you get on by leaving a comment in the form below.


If you’d like to know more about Strengths Development for you and your team, please


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