Technique 1.103 Strength-Based Profiling


This is based upon the Strengthscope Assessment Tool that explores 24 strengths that are closely related to performance at work and are dependent on a person's behaviour, personality and motivation. Of the 24, it focuses on 7 signature strengths.

It is linked with the philosophy of Positive Psychology.

The notion of strengths is an inherently positive process, ie each participant as an individual brings a unique set of strengths to every situation, that can help them to fulfil their potential and excel. There is a focus on building positive attributes and using innate skills and strengths. This approach is different from more traditional approaches as its focus is on

- strengths, rather than deficiencies or weaknesses, like what people do not know or are not good at

- strengths are related to the person rather than the role or seniority

- non-technical skills such as soft skills including teamwork, communications, personal insights, etc, rather than technical competencies or hard skills.

By focusing on one's strengths has demonstrated improved performance (like tangible business benefits including productivity, customer loyalty, employee retention, high quality problem-solving, etc) and well-being, such as health, etc. In addition to identifying your strengths and embracing them, it explores the excessive use of strengths and provides insights into individual motivation and character, plus highlighting how others in the workplace might perceive them.

"...happiness occurs when an individual identifies their signature strengths and channels them towards something larger than oneself. Nurturing these strengths can benefit health, relationships and careers..."

Martin Seligman as quoted by David Macafee, et al, 2015

Strengthscope consists of a

"...series of rating scale items and dynamically generated questions to help respondents understand: (1) their work-related strengths or sources of energy and peak performance; (2) the tasks and activities that are most likely to energise them; and (3) the likely consequences of using their strengths too much, too little or in a way that is not appropriate......does not describe behavioural preferences (as personality questionnaires do) but instead identifies the behaviours and activities which make one feel strong and energised......The absolute score is not as important as the relative position of the individual strength to the other strengths listed..."

David Macafee, et al, 2015

Strengthscope Assessment Tool (10 essential points)

i) focus is on identifying and enhancing your strengths

ii) only 7 strengths are selected as this is what can be typically retained in your brain's short-term memory, ie best to focus on a small number

iii) a strength outside the 7 can still be important; the ranking of your strengths can marginally change over time and depends on your current situation

iv) more important than the absolute score of a particular strength is its relative position to the others listed

v) strengths are related to the person, not the role or seniority level; with peak work performance occurring when somebody's personal strengths align with their job's specific competencies and the organisations goals, ie 'right person, right place, right time'

vi) this tool is not a measure of competency; it simply identifies that a person's top 7 strengths

vii) can use your strengths to compensate, mitigate, handle, manage, accommodate, alleviate, etc your weaknesses and obtain peak performance

viii) consequences of misusing a strength are indicated; with the aim of managing or mitigating any negative ramifications

ix) in addition to getting a written report, participants generally find face-to-face feedback with an accredited person and find this is most useful, ie puts things into context, understanding your authentic self, etc

x) most strengths are formed in your teen years and can be modified as you age

Strengths (24)

They are listed in alphabetical order for convenience 

No. Strengths Exhibition of Optimal Strength Strength in Overdrive, ie overusing or misusing
1. collaboration works cooperatively with others to overcome conflict and build a common goal; ensuring a common understanding between parties may seek out consensus that is unnecessary or inappropriate - including when a quick or straightforward decision is required and available
2. commonsense makes pragmatic judgements based on practical thinking and previous experience too much reliance on obvious and pragmatic answers that have worked well in the past; not necessarily receptive to new ideas and solutions
3. compassion demonstrates a deep and genuine concern for the well-being of others others may take advantage of the person and their concern for others
4. courage stands up for what is right and/or what they strongly believe in takes unpopular stands like protecting people from bad behaviour (eg bullying) that may have a detrimental impact on their careers; can be perceived as reckless or extreme in defending points of view
5. creativity enthusiastic about new ideas; is energised by thinking 'outside the box'; willing to question and challenge the status quo may overlook the obvious, tried, tested, available solutions and/or develop unworkable ideas
6. critical thinking breaks down problems systematically and evaluates them objectively; simplifies difficult problems could appear negative and/or overcritical as continually questioning and looking for flaws
7. decisiveness makes quick, confident and clear decisions either with limited facts; quickly perceiving the impact and implications of these decisions too little time considering the alternatives and/or impatient to make a decision when should wait for more facts, data, information, etc
8. detail orientation pays attention to detail; produces high quality output no matter what the pressure; strives for perfection irrespective of the size of the task spends too much time on the detail, and not enough on the big picture; seen as perfectionists; slow to implement as waiting for more facts, data, information, etc
9. developing others recognises and develops others' strengths and potential; helps optimise them by acting as a mentor or coach; promoting others' learning may spend excessive time helping others with their development at the expense of their own
10. efficiency maximises output from inputs; well ordered; well-organised; develops action plans and implementation list, eg 'to-do' lists leaves little room for flexibility
11. emotional control remains calm under pressure; controls against emotional outbursts by being aware of own emotional triggers and how to control them may come across as dispassionate or aloof
12. empathy readily identifies with other's situation; takes a keen interest in other's situations and understands their perspective or point of view becomes too immersed in others' situations; loses ability to provide objective support and advice
13. enthusiasm shows passion and energy in daily tasks, working with others, achieving goals or supporting ideas and beliefs, etc enthusiasm may become overwhelming; appear over-emotional; others feel their points of view are not valued
14. flexibility adapts and embraces fast moving, unpredictable circumstances; embracing change may appear restless or to prefer change for change's sake
15. initiative anticipates problems independently; takes action without being asked to; gets involved early to ensure their input is included may habitually start new initiatives without considering their impact, eg chance of success
16. leading enjoys taking leadership role; willing to motivate people to act in a certain way; likes taking responsibility and accountability may take a leadership role when it is inappropriate or unnecessary such as when someone else is already doing a good job; can appear controlling or domineering
17. optimistic looks for the positive in people, plans, projects, etc; remains positive and upbeat, even when things go wrong can be perceived as unrealistically positive, ie positivity could be risky; need to understand the wider picture (including negatives, what can go wrong, etc)
18. persuasiveness enjoys debate and negotiation; convinces others that their way of thinking is correct; wins arguments tries to influence most outcomes in their favour; will stop at nothing to persuade others of the correctness of their opinions and stands; sometimes will engage in debate for debate's sake
19. relationship building endeavours to build networks of contacts; enjoys meeting new people; build close relationships with others primarily focuses on building networks and contacts for networking's sake; thus distracting time and energy from other areas
20. resilience quickly recovers from setbacks; sees them as opportunities; persists in trying to solve difficult problem can result in too much risk taking, eg work on 'mission impossible'; focus on overcoming obstacles regardless of final mission's value
21. results focus priority on achieving results, completing tasks, etc; takes immediate action to solve problems; strong focus on achieving goals focus on results and completion can reduce awareness of other aspects of the task; less focus on organisational issues like involvement, reflection, learning, etc
22. self-confidence has complete trust in their own abilities and judgements; conveys their ideas in a forthright manner; willing to take on any task they believe they can perform can overlook flaws in their own thinking and actions; perceived as brash and arrogant by others
23. self-improvement puts maximum effort into own learning and applying new things; willing to tackle new problems that will aid their self-development; actively explores ways to learn from others can become overly focused on accumulating knowledge and new learning experiences, irrespective of their usefulness
24. strategic mindedness appears orientated towards the future; explores future trends and scenarios; creates imaginative future strategies too much focus on the future can blur or distract from understanding and acting on current realities


(source: David Macafee at al, 2012)



Using a questionnaire, the 7 top strengths are identified and explored in more detail. The answers are evaluated and used to calculate the ranking. The report is usually split into 5 sections. These sections include a listing of yhe individual's 7 significant strengths, strength profile compared with the comparison group and suggestions to make the most of these 7 strengths, ie these are the strengths to focus on now and for the future.

The below diagram is an example of the 24 strengths grouped in 4 clusters, ie emotional, relational, thinking and execution.



(source: )


It is important to understand the impact of your strengths. Some examples,

- if courage is one of your strengths, you could find yourself at odds with somebody who sees hierarchy as more important. This person would not welcome challenges to their decisions and could see you as being disrespectful without realising you are simply responding to your strengths

- if empathy and compassion are your strengths, you may appear less efficient and not sufficiently detailed focused

- strength of self-confidence could be construed as arrogance

- somebody possessing persuasiveness as a strength may appear to have an undue influence on the outcomes and indulge in debate for debate's sake

Use your strengths to handle other strengths. For example, misuse of persuasiveness could be handled by

" put forward their views whilst at the same time retaining self-confidence and courage to stand firm in the face of persuasion. Emotional control may also be an asset if the attempts to persuade become too strong. Ultimately however, any strength can counter or help facilitate the best from any other if the user adopts a considered and mindful approach..."

David Macafee, et al, 2015

Strength-orientated tools can help at various levels, such as

- a good staff member can excel

- a struggling staff member can focus on using their strength to overcome current challenges (including misuse of strengths)

- an understanding of whether certain classes of strengths are associated with specific careers can help people make informed choices about those careers, etc

These tools are based on the appreciation of strength as opposed to the more persuasive deficit model - the later highlights your weaknesses, deficiencies, areas that need improvement, etc


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