Three things PM want to know about Character Strengths

From the Team building for success - from the Project Manager up! Blog
Passion for project management combined with a passion for people creates energy, enthusiasm and engagement. Engagement leads to success. It is when we are most engaged that we will "run through walls" for others. This blog focuses on ways to keep our project teams engaged and the way we can keep ourselves engaged and effective. As Lori Wilson ( described it "Project management is like tap dancing on a moving floor". Let's LEARN TO DANCE!

About this Blog


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Over the last few months, since the publication of my book Be a Project Motivator: Unlock the Secrets of Strength-Based Project Management, I have been speaking to project managers from all around the world about how the science of Character Strengths can help us build engagement, increase productivity and creativity and help us to get stuff done.

I have been sharing my study of over 250 project managers who have taken the free VIA Character Strengths Survey to get their personalized 24-strength ranking, which shows that on average project managers are lower in Social Intelligence and Perspective than our colleagues, but are higher in Teamwork, Perseverance, Prudence and Forgiveness.

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Source, ALLE LLC Study (unpublished), 2019

The feedback from the audiences has been terrific, and here I am sharing the three most common questions I receive:

Q1. What do I do about my lowest strengths - my weaknesses?

Let's clear up this unfortunate misconception right way. It is a misconception for three key reasons:

  1. Our lesser strengths - the ones at the bottom - are not weaknesses, the survey only measures strengths, not weaknesses. These are just the strengths we lean on the least.
  2. We all have all 24. We have some strengths that are easy, energizing and empowering. We feel good when we use them. And we have others that take a little more work. We may have some that we have allowed to erode over time. But they are all there.
  3. Research has shown that we get a boost in wellbeing from working to lift our bottom strengths, but we get just much if not more of a boost from using our top strengths in new ways - expanding their repertoire.

So love all your strengths! They are all there for you when you want and need them.

Q2 What if my top strengths don't seem to have anything to do with leadership? I don't even have the strength of Leadership in my top 10!

Across the world, the strength of Leadership ranks somewhere in the middle on average, somewhere around 11 out of the 24. Being a great leader is not about using a specific strength well or a lot, it is about using the strengths you have to best effect AND about seeing strengths in others and helping them to use theirs too.

Gallup research shows that up to 70% of the difference between staff turnover between different teams is related in some way to managers. We are managers, and so we are part of that statistic. Further evidence from Gallup and other researchers show that when managers help staff see, appreciate and use their strengths at work each day, staff are more likely to report feeling engaged, and seeing work as a calling and are less likely to leave.

So don't focus on what you don't have, focus on the strengths you do have and how they can help. In the book, I share this profile and explanation from someone who was identified by management and staff alike as a leader. (Leadership ranked 12 for her.) Her self-analysis of how she uses her strengths is below.

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Source, Be a Project Motivator: Unlock the Secrets of Strengths-Based Project Management p124

Q3 Where do I start if I want to use character strengths with my team?

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The answer is easy! Start with you. Use the 6 step approach to strengths-based project management (left) and follow steps 1- 3. They are all about you. When you know your strengths, you target your strengths, and you model your strengths, others are automatically influenced. They see your behavior, and your mood and they will follow your lead. Humans are wired to connect and are wired to mirror the behavior and mood of others. So set the tone! Then when you are ready, follow steps 4 - 6 and start applying your strengths knowledge to the people around you!

Want to know more, watch my webinar on here: 


Related Materials:

or message me here on!

Posted on: March 27, 2019 06:00 AM | Permalink

Comments (6)

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Hi Ruth,

Thank you for sharing your article. Its true we focus more on our insecurities than the power within. I was interested in learning more about the your webinar, but seems like your link is incorrect as I cannot reach it. Can you send me a working link please or correct the above?

http://You can find out more by watching my webinars on here:� and�

Best Regards,

Rajesh Sharma

Hi Rajesh
I think the link is working now. Not sure what happened. We are not allowed to provide external links in blog posts, but as this is a link I think it should be OK. If you have problems, just copy the link information and paste into your browser.


Awesome! Thanks for sharing, Ruth!
I was actually looking for this content for sometime. Glad you posted here.

Great observations Ruth. Thanks for sharing & also giving some additional links as reference. I particularly liked your 3rd question you have explained "The Six Phases of Strengths-based Project Management".

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