Strengths in Teams

By Innovative Resources


Teachers and coaches: here’s a must-have resource for helping dancers through challenges together!

Strengths in Teams is a set of 30 lavishly illustrated, full-colour cards depicting a zany and delightfully whacky circus troupe. Except this troupe looks very familiar. In fact, it shares all the idiosyncrasies and foibles of just about any group of dancers!

Like any effective team, these characters demonstrate that they have strengths, and they depend upon the strengths of all members. In fact, Strengths in Teams is all about noticing, identifying, mobilising and celebrating those strengths in order to build confidence, help people work together and make change happen.

Originally developed for use by human service professionals, Strengths in Teams is today used by teachers, mentors and leaders in all kinds of professions around the world. Use these cards to help students focus on the importance of relationships and move beyond preoccupations with technique or perceived failure. Surprise your colleagues by gifting cards that represent the special qualities each person contributes, or use the cards to reflect on your team’s performance.

If you love the cards, don’t forget they are also available as stickers – the perfect, take-home reminder of your team’s achievements!

RRP: AU$49.50
30 full colour cards, each 210 x 148mm
Polypropylene box, 24 page booklet.
Booklet author: Russell Deal
Illustrator and designer: Andrew Bowler


Riding the Ups and Downs

No team stays on top forever, but for groups that take part in competitions – including dance troupes – missing the winner’s trophy can create tension and conflict, and provoke individuals to focus on weaknesses and deficits.

Strengths in Teams can be used to ensure the troupe’s collective strengths and successes are also noticed, and to celebrate the positive contributions each dancer has made. Spread the cards on the floor or on the table (or use a sheet of the Strengths in Teams stickers, also available from Innovative Resources).

  • What do you believe are the most significant strengths in your team?
  • What particular strengths got your troupe or squad through the event?
  • What particular strengths have got your team through challenging times in the past?
  • If your team was to win an award for strengths, which ones would you nominate?
  • Which strengths do you contribute to the team?
  • Which strengths do you need to practise?
  • How do you think you or your team could practise that strength?


Recognising shadows

Sometimes there is a fine line between strengths and deficits, and sometimes what is a strength for one person can be experienced as oppressive or disrespectful by another. To explore this fine line using Strengths in Teams it can be useful to initiate ‘Shadow’ questions such as:

  • Do any members of the team or those outside the team struggle with any of these strengths?
  • Do we sometimes overdo some strengths? If so, which ones?
  • Do any strengths predominate to the detriment of other strengths?
  • Is our array of strengths too narrow?
  • Do we ever use any strengths inappropriately or insensitively?
  • Is it possible to be too self-congratulatory about our strengths?
  • Do any of our strengths inhibit or become a barrier to others outside the group?


Interviewing for an Artistic Director!

Many years ago, Innovative Resources discovered the application of Strengths in Teams in job interviews, particularly for positions with management or leadership obligations. Try giving interviewees a subset of the cards with the question:

  • We assume you have all these strengths but what key leadership strengths would we see you demonstrating after three months in the position, if you were successful?

This activity, if introduced respectfully and with permission for the applicant to decline the invitation, invariably leads to interesting discussion and some novel insights for all concerned.