If you’ve been part of a team, group project or committee, you probably noticed that some people seem as if they were “born to lead.” Or maybe your friend can play the guitar or is an amazing artist. We all have our own unique talents, and these strengths can be used in many ways. When we identify our own natural abilities, we can focus on doing what we do best, but our team will also be able to accomplish more. The benefits of assessing your talents and strengths can help you succeed now, as well as launch a lifetime of achievement.
Dr. J. Scott Vernon is a professor in the Agricultural Education and Communications Department at Cal-Poly, San Luis Obispo. A former California FFA member, he is president of the Livestock Publications Council, serves on the advisory board of the AgChat Foundation, and is founder and executive director of “I Love Farmers … They Feed My Soul.”
“Because of my leadership development, I recognize that you cannot lead unless there is a team,” Vernon says. “You must recognize your role in a team in order to optimize your leadership. You cannot do it alone.”
The best way to be a successful team member starts with knowing what you can contribute. Here are a few ways to assess your talents and strengths.
“You must recognize your role in a team in order to optimize your leadership.”
Figure out what you’re good at.
If you don’t enjoy something, chances are you might not naturally excel at it. Make a list of the areas in which you really shine. Figure out how you can apply those talents in other ways.
Make a list of your likes and dislikes.
Think about the teams and groups you’ve been in. What parts of that experience did you like? Which ones did you not? That’s a great start in identifying your role within the team. By separating the things you like doing from the things you dislike, you can more easily determine where your natural strengths lie.
Ask your friends.
Do you ever find yourself comparing your talents to your friends? It’s a safe bet your friends have thought the same thing about you. Ask them what talent or strength they most admire about you. By asking your friends, you add a fresh perspective to your search and may find something you overlooked.
Visit your high school guidance counselor.
Formalized methods for determining your talents and strengths do exist. Meet with your high school guidance counselor to see if they can suggest an assessment.
Interview someone you think is talented.
Reach out to professionals. Find out their process for finding your talent.
Keep a journal.
A journal is the story of your life, and like in any good read, themes tend to emerge. By reading back through your thoughts, you can discover perspectives you might not have otherwise.
– Kirby Smith