Follow up from the Introduction to Strengths-Based Project Management Webinar - March 6th, 2019

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


Recent Posts

Seeing is Believing: The Maggie Method

Appreciating the Undervalued Strength of Appreciation

#PMIEMEA19 - On tour with character strengths!

Influence, the Project Motivator’s Best Friend

Project Managers More than just Plate Spinners and Ball Jugglers

Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash

Q1 Do you think we should work on our lowest strengths to improve them?

First, lower strengths are not the same as weaknesses. That said, the research shows that working on our TOP strengths to make sure we are using them optimally is the most beneficial. We can work on ANY of our strengths to boost them. We are most likely to succeed in lifting strengths that we truly value rather than believing are what we “should” have.

There is some research that shows that working on lesser strengths can be beneficial – particularly for people who feel familiar and connected to their top strengths already. Email me to receive a reference to the relevant research. 

Q2: has there ever been a comparison of VIACharacter strengths and John Wooden's Pyramid of Success? I have always leaned on the integrity of John Wooden and his pyramid.

I am not aware of any analysis or comparison of the Pyramid of Success to VIA Character Strengths. There has been some work to compare MBTI and Gallup CliftonStrengths (formerly Strengthsfinder). Email me if you would like to receive the references to the articles. 

Q3: Does this link to emorgetics?

Unfortunately, I am not familiar with emorgetics. If you can provide me with a link, I would love to learn more!

Q4: What again are the 3 Es?

Signature strengths – typically our top five strengths – are ESSENTIAL, EFFORTLESS and ENERGIZING!

Q5: As you stated that we should focus on the positive?

Character strengths and Positive Psychology are not so much about focusing on the positive, more about starting with what is strong and working from there. We are more creative, more productive, more confident, and more likely to be willing to tackle gaps and weaknesses if we first start with recognizing the positive in us.

Q6: Should you use the sandwich method to give feedback?

Generally, my recommendation is to give feedback often. That way there is no special approach required. Whatever the feedback is, you can just give it. Hopefully, for most people on most days, feedback is positive and the times when the feedback is less than positive is the exception. The sandwich technique is something that is often used when the only feedback is given at annual appraisal time or when there is a problem.  

For the giver of the feedback, there are a couple of questions it may be helpful to consider:

  1. When do I give feedback? On a regular basis? Or only when there is an issue to be addressed?
  2. What feedback does this person need to act on? Whatever that feedback is, it probably helps to get to the point.

Q7: How long does the VIA Survey take to complete? –

It takes about 15-30 minutes in your first language.


Q8: We are very surprised to hear that PMs tend to have low social intelligence. Can you elaborate on why you think that is? Is this survey focused more on a specific industry? 

The results are from multiple industries, but there is a concentration in IT and Financial Services. It is hard to say why Social Intelligence would be lower in PMs. Some audiences have hypothesized that project managers are the type of people who don’t want too much social interaction and so people with low social intelligence choose project management because they expect to have to deal with people less. It may also be related to the type of training and education that most project managers get which has tended to focus on tools and techniques rather than human considerations. An analysis of US Masters programs in Project Management shows that the number of credits in topics like team building, negotiation and conflict management are very low – particular when looking at mandatory classes rather than electives.

Q9: [When you discuss the survey results are you talking about strengths] most and least likely to show up for PMs? Or respondents?

Now that my sample size is large enough, I would say that it is both. I believe that this is a representative sample of project managers.

Q10: Is this a self-assessment – yes.

There is a Character Strengths 360 available from VIA institute that you can use to find out what strengths others see in you. Comparing that with your survey results can be very enlightening!

Q11: this is a self-assessment? I'm surprised the honesty is the highest. Has there been other data to confirm this besides project managers?

There are two reports that analyze findings across the world for all takers of the survey. One is an early analysis of the results for 54 Nations the other, more recent study is of 75 nations. Email me and I will send the references.

Q12: I'm not clear as to why spirituality is a character strength? I would think it might be a passion. How could you overuse spirituality?

Any of the CS can be passions/interests and any can be values we have so that’s right. But, spirituality – that pursuit toward meaning/purpose, dwelling with the sacred and specialness in life – is in all people. This has actually been shown on a genetic level in studies of children and adolescents (see Lisa Miller’s new book The Spiritual Child that reviews these). This is, of course, different from participating in religions/institutions/rituals which are clearly not universal.

Q13: If Character Strengths are only positive traits, does that mean negative traits are Character Flaws or Weaknesses?

The survey measures the strengths relative to each other. So, we express our top strengths more frequently and more easily than a bottom-strengths. Negative traits can be all sort of things – habits, practices, beliefs and so on. There is no measure – or definition as far as I know – of character flaws or character weaknesses. All character strengths are positive traits and at the same time, positive traits can be character strengths, skills, beliefs, talents etc.

Q14: What is the URL to take the survey?

The link is available in the handout under RELATED CONTENT in the webinar recording page here:


Related Materials:

So far (as of March 27th) about 235 attendees have taken the survey!


Posted on: March 28, 2019 07:00 AM | Permalink

Comments (5)

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Nice follow up to the webinar.
In relation to your answer to the first question, I have posted on my blog here "Coaching with positive feedback! WRONG" that refers to a study from HBR that reinforce your answer. Work on the best aspect of one person.

Thank you for sharing! Our organization uses HIGH5 test ( to cultivate the strengths-based culture. It is like a free alternative to the StrengthsFinder, hence, gives anyone a chance to apply strengths-based approach regardless of your budget.

Very interesting Ruth. Thank you very much for your efforts .

Thank you Reza, Vincent, Rajesh and Karl for your comments.

Karl, thank you for the link. I will take a look. The VIA survey is free, validated, easy to understand and comes with lots of research to support it, so it is my go-to tool. But I am always interested in new strengths-based tools.

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I see where one young boy has just passed 500 hours sitting in a treetop. There is a good deal of discussion as to what to do with a civilization that produces prodigies like that. Wouldn't it be a good idea to take his ladder away from him and leave him up there?

- Will Rogers