How to Leverage Your Character Strengths and Enable Your Team to Thrive

All of us know that we have unique strengths and weaknesses, but have you ever actually documented yours? This is an incredibly important exercise that will answer questions like “who are you?” “What do you stand for?” and “What are your top five virtues?” A great way to start would be by completing this free character strength survey by the VIA Institute on Character, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing the science of character strengths to the world through supporting research.


Who Am I?

Once you have identified your character strengths, now it’s time to figure out what to do with that knowledge. How does this information help you? Remember, we all have all of the character strengths to some degree, but there are several that stand out more than others. For example my top five Character Strengths are:


  • Fairness
  • Forgiveness
  • Honesty
  • Love
  • Curiosity


As a leader of schools, it is imperative that I am fair with staff, students, and parents. While I may be overly honest, I love the work that I do and I use my curiosity to help me understand problems that educators face and then devise solutions to help my teammates overcome those hurdles.


When it comes to your strengths, identify how you depend on each of them to contribute to your professional teams. Writing down a few specific examples that demonstrate how each character strength has empowered you can help solidify those traits as part of your identity.



As the headmaster at an international school, I depend on my character strengths to instill confidence in my ability to deliver fair judgments, to forgive those that need it, to be honest, to show love, and to engage curiously with my environment. However, when it comes to my leadership team, it is important that I have people on my team that exhibit other strengths such as zest, creativity, and humor to balance out the group. If I value others’ strengths, then I can be confident that we will make balanced decisions to guide the school.


Take a few minutes to reflect on your workplace. Then read the blog Using Your Strengths at Work? Get S.M.A.R.T. and write your own SMART Goals for using your signature strengths at work. This will help you further channel your strengths to set and achieve concrete goals.


And if you’d like a free consultation on how character strengths can be used to boost achievement both in the classroom and in the workplace, set up an appointment with Mary Sanders, Executive Director at Aviva.