How to make the most of your VIA strengths results

Applied Positive psychology – playing to your strengths

In our introduction to strengths workshops, we often ask people to reflect on the VIA strengths list of 24 and pick two strengths they thought were most important to them in helping guide their actions in the coming months. 

VIA stands for values in action and subtly differs from the strengths-profile assessment tool we use with people. VIA explores values, while the strengths-profile looks at 60 workplace strengths.

However, like strengths-profile, the VIA taps into some themes, helping to deepen your understanding of:

  • Activities that you most value in life 
  • How to create a shared language for identifying, understanding, sharing and celebrating your strengths and those of your colleagues
  • When you are in flow and experiencing a peak experience
  • How you like to learn new things
  • Your style of working
  • How playing to your strengths can sometimes lead to conflict at work
  • How playing to your strengths can also help you handle conflict and connect with others

Turning your strengths into an action plan

Either complete the VIA online strengths assessment from the University of Pennsylvania or review the strengths list below.

Pick two strengths you want to focus on at work in the coming months. If you are in one of our coaching programs, you may already have done this.

Consider the following questions and discuss them with a friend or colleague:

  1. You picked two strengths. Why did you choose these?
  2. Which other three strengths did you consider to be important? What made the two you chose slightly more important than the other three?
  3. How will you be reminded of these to help guide your actions every day? For example, as a screensaver or reflect as you craft your tasks list?
  4. What practical steps will you take this week to incorporate your chosen strengths into your communication, planning, or task management?

VIA strengths list

FORGIVENESS – Forgiving those who have done wrong; accepting the shortcomings of others; giving people a second chance; not being vengeful

HUMILITY – Letting one’s accomplishments speak for themselves; not regarding oneself as more special than one is

PRUDENCE – Being careful about one’s choices; not taking undue risks; not saying or doing things that might later be regretted

SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE – Being aware of the motives and feelings of other people and oneself; knowing what to do to fit into different social situations; knowing what makes other people tick

SELF REGULATION – Regulating what one feels and does; being disciplined; controlling one’s appetites and emotions

APPRECIATION OF BEAUTY AND EXCELLENCE – Noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in various domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience

GRATITUDE – Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks

HOPE – Expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it; believing that a good future is something that can be brought about

SPIRITUALITY – Having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe; knowing where one fits within the larger scheme; having beliefs about the meaning of life that shape conduct and provide comfort

KINDNESS – Doing favours and good deeds for others; helping them; taking care of them

HUMOR – Liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people; seeing the light side; making (not necessarily telling) jokes

PERSPECTIVE – Being able to provide wise counsel to others; having ways of looking at the world that make sense to oneself and to other people

CREATIVITY – Thinking of novel and productive ways to conceptualise and do things; includes artistic achievement and more

CURIOSITY – Taking an interest in ongoing experience for its own sake; finding subjects and topics fascinating; exploring and discovering

JUDGMENT – Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; not jumping to conclusions; being able to change one’s mind in light of evidence; weighing all evidence fairly

LOVE OF LEARNING – Mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge, whether on one’s own or formally; obviously related to the strength of curiosity but goes beyond it to describe the tendency to add systematically to what one knows

PERSEVERANCE – Finishing what one starts; persisting in a course of action in spite of obstacles; “getting it out the door”; taking pleasure in completing tasks

HONESTY – Speaking the truth but more broadly presenting oneself in a genuine way and acting in a sincere way; being without pretence; taking responsibility for one’s feelings and actions

ZEST & ENERGY – Approaching life with excitement and energy; not doing things halfway or half-heartedly; living life as an adventure; feeling alive and activated

LOVE – Valuing close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated; being close to people

TEAMWORK – Working well as a member of a group or team; being loyal to the group; doing one’s share

FAIRNESS – Treating all people the same according to notions of fairness and justice; not letting personal feelings bias decisions about others; giving everyone a fair chance.

LEADERSHIP – Encouraging a group of which one is a member to get things done, and at the same time maintaining good relations within the group; organizing group activities and seeing that they happen.

BRAVERY – Not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain; speaking up for what is right; acting

Share these insights with friends and colleagues