Approximately 25 minutes, depending on group size.
Send the link to the VIA strengths inventory to participants to complete in advance or alternatively give them 15 minutes at the beginning of your session to do so.
After explaining strengths using the suggested wording, you’ll have each person identify their top 3 strengths and how those can be used in the workplace. The intention is to be aware of how we can leverage strengths in times of stress or challenge.
Every person has all 24-character strengths in different degrees, giving each person a unique character profile. You can discover your personal character strengths profile by taking the free scientifically validated VIA Survey. It’ll take you approximately 15 minutes. There’s no need to purchase the full report to learn about your top strengths for this activity.
The VIA Character Strengths Survey is part of a research project, so you’ll need to provide personal information, including your name and email address for research purposes.
When we talk about a person’s character, we mean the sum total of who that person is: how their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours shape who they are, how they see the world and how they interact with the people around them. Every person has character strengths. These are positive qualities that are part of who we are and come naturally to us. It’s much easier for us to use our strengths during times of adversity than to try and manage our weaknesses.
For example, if patience isn’t your strength, trying to be patient when faced with a delay in a work project isn’t easy. On the other hand, if creativity is a strength, distracting yourself from the stress and frustration of waiting while you begin a new, creative project might be helpful.
We all have many character strengths but we don’t all have the same ones to the same degree. For example, while everyone has curiosity, it’s stronger in some people than in others. Also any strength can be overused to the point of being a problem. Using the example of curiosity, not enough can make life boring – too much can make you seem nosy or intrusive.
Using your results from the VIA Survey write down your top 3 strengths.
[At the end of this activity is a list of VIA character strengths you can share in case someone was unable to complete the online VIA Survey.]
Now, for each of your top 3 strengths ask yourself the question, “How can I use this strength to help me deal with stress and challenges?”
If your strength is forgiveness, you could answer the question with, “Because I prefer mercy and not revenge, it’s easier to move on, even when someone hurts me.”
If your strength is love-of-learning, you could answer the question with, “When things go wrong, know I can examine the situation and learn a new way of going forward.”
If your strength is bravery, you could answer the question with, “Even when I’m opposed by many, I’m able to do what I think is right.”
[To facilitate sharing you could have each person share one strength and how they’d use it or you could read out each strength and ask if anyone has it, and how they’d use it.]
[When your time is up, wrap up by saying the following:]
Because our strengths are naturally easier for us than our weaknesses, they’re more readily available during times of stress. When we understand how to use our strengths to deal with stress, we can intentionally draw on them to deal with our challenges. As you go through your week, recognize when you’re using your strengths and how they help you to deal with stress.
Find more activities like this at Team building activities.