Character strengths are positive, individual, and measurable units of good character, such as perseverance, teamwork, and honesty (Harzer & Ruch, 2013). It is interesting to note that character strengths can be ranked regarding their centrality for the individual (Harzer & Ruch, 2013). In other words, perseverance may be more present in some people, while teamwork may be more central to others.
Signature strengths and task performance
While the individual’s core character strengths, i.e. highest character strengths, are the person’s signature strengths (Harzer & Ruch, 2013, 2014; Peterson & Seligman, 2004), task performance is the in-role behavior as illustrated in the description of the job (Harzer & Ruch, 2014; Katz, 1964; Williams & Anderson, 1991).
Relevantly, the individual’s signature strengths seem to be associated with task performance (Harzer & Ruch, 2013, 2014). For instance, teamwork, perseverance, honesty, prudence, and self-regulation were empirically found to be consistently associated with task performance (Harzer & Ruch, 2014, p. 200).
Three concrete ways on how to apply character strengths at work:
- Teamwork: Proactively reflect once a week about how you could collaborate and cooperate with a teammate. For example, consider how you could help your teammate with a specific task, with which the person has been struggling.
- Perseverance: Challenge yourself once every month to learn a new difficult skill that you may need for tasks at work. For instance, if you often work with Microsoft Office, choose a company’s course on how to analyze data with Excel and challenge yourself to complete the course within one month. Despite the challenges that you may encounter in the learning process, persist towards your goal.
- Self-regulation: Self-regulate yourself to complete your tasks with a well-structured calendar, which supports the improvement of your work quality. For example, organize your calendar according to the priority of your tasks. Do the most important tasks when you are the most alert (e.g., if you are a morning person, do the most relevant tasks in the morning).
Applying your highest character strengths at work contribute to task performance and there are varied manners on how to apply them. For instance, if teamwork is one of your signature strengths, you could apply it at work by proactively collaborating more with your teammates. Have you ever considered what your character strengths are? Discover them for free at the VIA Institute on Character. Would you like to have a free online coaching-session on your signature strengths? Then subscribe here. The 10 first people subscribing to this link and showing their interest will get the online session with me for free.