conference table personal strengths

Leading Within Your Personal Strengths Doesn’t Happen By Accident

Linda Valdez Thompson, 4word board member and Certified Strengths Coach from Gallup, dives into the first two action steps she has identified that will help anyone who wants to not only discover their personal strengths but also develop them to be usable in their leadership roles.

You can listen to this conversation with Linda on our podcast, Work, Love, Pray! Listen below or click here to find your preferred listening platform.

The “discover” step in learning to lead within your personal strengths goes back to what we discussed in the last blog about being mindful of the things that really give you energy and bring you joy. Learning that information helps you to discover what your innate talents might be. There are a lot of cues that you can get, and it’s important to pay attention to them. These cues are usually repetitive and consistent. These cues may even go back as far as being told as a child that you were naturally gifted at something. Just focus on discovering and compiling any clues in your life that might point to personal strengths.

One of the most important things you can do as you identify your personal strengths is to recognize that we all have innate talents. To me, that’s called potential. We all have potential but what we choose to do with that potential will eventually determine our success in life. There are people who are very talented but choose not to use their talent. There’s nothing more frustrating to a parent than having a child who has so much potential but doesn’t seem to want to develop it.

In terms of developing a talent, here are some things you can do. First, gain more knowledge. If you have a particular talent, learn all you can about it by reading books, listening to podcasts, learning from others, or attending training. If your employer has professional development opportunities, take advantage of those! It is so important to take advantage of the development opportunities your employer is providing, because having that development means that those are skills that are important to your employer.

After learning all you can about your skills and talents, now you have to develop your skills and actually use the knowledge that you’ve gained. For example, I noticed that pickleball is all the rage right now, and since I’ve played tennis and badminton before, I figured pickleball should be easy. So I read all the rules and watched videos, and thought, ‘Oh, this is gonna be easy.’ I finally decided to take all my research and go play pickleball…and I was pretty bad at it. That’s why it’s important to acknowledge that there’s a difference between knowing about something and being able to actually do it. You have to practice and ask those around you to give you feedback on how you’re doing. If you’re intentional about growing your skill or talent and routinely checking to make sure you’re improving, that skill or talent will become second nature to you and that will help you to be successful in leading from your personal strengths.

Linda is an accomplished executive with extensive experience in leading global private and public sector organizations. After a 20+ year successful career at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport as an executive vice president and at Fortune 500 companies such as Levi Strauss, Baxter, and Hasbro,  Linda consults with clients in the areas of Leadership Development & Training, Human Resources, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Linda is located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  

Linda has a Masters in Organizational Management and a Bachelors of Business Administration and is a Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Diversity Professional/Advanced Practitioner from Cornell University. She holds other credentials such as Board Certified Coach, Certified Strengths Coach from Gallup, Certified Career Coach, and Emotional Intelligence EQi Certification. 

Linda has received several distinctionsduring her careerMost recently she was recognized by the Dallas Business Journal with the Leaders in Diversity, Lifetime Achievement award and the Diversity Leadership Award by the North Texas Commission. She also received the 2021 Latina Living Legend Award from the Dallas Hispanic 100.  

Linda is active in the community having served on various boards such as the United Way Tarrant County, American Heart Association, and currently serves on the 4word Board of Directors.