Teamwork often means drawing upon a range of shared strengths in order to deliver a positive outcome. While your own qualities might not always be what you expect, it’s enlightening to discover who you really are – in order to play well with others.
As mentioned in an earlier blog, every Scriba PR rookie receives a copy of Don Clifton’s StrengthsFinder book in order to identify their top five personality traits.
Rather than focusing on trying to improve on our weaknesses – in my case, anything to do with maths or secret-keeping – we look at how to harness our inner power, both while flying solo and in conjunction with our fellow word nerds.
One of the things which really resonated with me when I read the book, was the story of Rudy, a fellow who loved football and was desperate to become a player. To cut a long story short, he wasn’t cut out for a life in studded boots – his innate skillset saw to that – but he did find his calling and used it to carve a career for himself as Notre Dame stadium’s groundskeeper, thus keeping him close to the action, but in a role which suited him.
You see, you may enjoy a certain sport, world travel or nature – but your ideal role might not be so obvious.
For me, I have always loved writing, and it was that flair for communication which led me to a career in music and motorsport before I turned up at Scriba’s door on a wet autumn afternoon and began the next chapter of my story.
As my top strength, it’s unsurprising that I share this skill with two of my colleagues – MD, Katie Mallinson, and operations manager, Louise Jaggar.
While it manifests itself differently in each of us, my communicator profile flags how much I love to tell a story – and make people laugh. The Scriba girls know it can take me 10 minutes to share something that could take two. I love to bring colour to any anecdote – which really helps when unravelling our complex client stories.
The book says, ‘Instinctively, you relive people of the burden of having to figure out what you think, feel, and need. How? You simply tell them. Your plainspoken approach enhances their understanding of you as a person.’ Again, this summarises me perfectly, I’m open and honest in all faucets of life – what you see is what you get!
My #2 strength is uniquely mine and is an abbreviation of ‘winning others over’ – although I prefer to shout “woo!” in an overly-excited voice.
One of the key themes here is the ability to meet strangers from all walks of life and engage in chitchat. By entertaining them with my stories, and candidly sharing personal observations and experiences, it encourages them to open up too.
In truth, I didn’t see this strength in myself when I joined the team. But, my fellow Scribites have helped me to see ‘woo’ in action, and I’m particularly proud of this one. I absolutely love meeting new people, I’m a chatterbox and am not afraid to pick up the phone, and have a great natter with clients and journalists alike.
It’s not a case of networking or schmoozing – as people so often associate with PR – I genuinely enjoy making friends, and if they want to become an extension of the Scriba family, even better.
Having the ability to pick up on non-verbal cues is crucial in any situation, and noticing people’s feelings, needs and thoughts is a strength I hold very dear. My fellow account managers, Amy Lloyd and Hayley Paterson are also empathisers – and the most solid advice-givers I know to boot.
Without a doubt, the three of us showcase this skill in very different ways. Not to be confused with sympathy – I sometimes struggle with being compassionate – I can tell how another is feeling, without them having to say a word.
In my eyes, empathy can be both a blessing and a curse, because it’s easy to feel uncomfortable when the person you’re with is being particularly prickly, and wonder, ‘is it something I’ve done or said?’ Luckily, this is where I can draw upon my communication and woo qualities, in order to establish the best course of action for both the situation – and the person in question.
In high school I was dubbed one of the nerds. Being clever as a 13-year-old was surprisingly hard to take – but, people who are talented in the achiever theme are known to have a great deal of stamina, and work hard. It pays off too.
As per my own report, I am quite selective about the company I keep. Although I have a lot of friends – thanks again, woo – my ‘circle’ is quite small, and I can count on one hand the people I truly trust. I actively avoid people whose words and deeds indicate they value honesty less than I do. And, in the same breath, I’m determined to befriend individuals who dislike me – in fact, I relish the challenge.
Five out of the eight of us here at HQ share this strength, which is testament to the upward trajectory the company is currently on. Collectively, we’ve got more perseverance than you could shake a stick at, and our growth shows no sign of slowing down. I work hard because I want to do well – for myself, those clients I represent, and for Katie too.
This is the second strength which is unique to me, and I love the description of being a ‘human spark plug’.
I remember when I first met Katie, she wanted someone to ‘hit the ground running’ – and to my detriment I’d never worked in an agency before. Although I didn’t match all the criteria she was looking for in her next hire, I would hope she saw tenacity in me, and a hunger to deliver.
This strength helps me to drive projects and ideas forwards – not only for clients, but for Scriba too. I want the world to know what an awesome PR family we have and it’s important that, as a team, we give as much back to Katie as she gives to us.
I recognise some of the downsides too – I’m often impatient and can be quite assertive. Often the one who says; “okay, less talking, more doing!” and my eagerness to get on with the task in hand can often be misconstrued as bossiness. As such, I forget that I actually want people to like me as much as I want the project to be completed!
There you have it, Ruth Harrison-Davies in five simple strengths.