Background: The importance of allowing individuals to use their strengths in a work environment has been articulated through research focused on general audiences as well as by thought leaders within pharmacy. In particular, the work of Gallup has described how organizations that foster an environment in which employees frequently use their strengths achieve increased productivity, customer and employee satisfaction, and improved success at meeting goals. Despite acknowledging the importance of such an environment, little has been articulated in the pharmacy literature regarding how pharmacists can identify and apply their unique strengths within their profession.
Objective: To provide an overview of the concept of individual strengths, the value of utilizing strengths in the profession, and the authors' experiences facilitating an awareness of this concept with student pharmacists, pharmacy residents, and pharmacists.
Methods: Discovery and application of strengths has become a foundational theme in leadership development activities at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. The learning process begins with building awareness and identifying individual talents using the Clifton StrengthsFinder Profile and reflecting on previous use of these talents. Throughout the activities, participants are encouraged to examine how professional experiences that correlate with their talents intersect and affect their knowledge and skills. Finally, participants are encouraged to utilize and maximize their talents in a team environment.
Results: Experience has been gained delivering this educational process to 225 student pharmacists, 39 ambulatory care residents, and 22 practicing pharmacists. Participants have viewed this program favorably and articulated that utilization and growth of strengths is valuable to their career.
Conclusions: In order to achieve our potential as a profession, it is critical to identify and apply the strengths that individual pharmacists bring to their practice settings. The identification, understanding, and application of strengths have the potential to increase professional satisfaction, enhance leadership, and empower change that will evolve patient-centered care.