Using strengths for positive change

Using strengths for positive change

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Using strengths for positive change


Do you ever ask the question “Why is that person so good at that when I really struggle with it?” Or maybe it is “Why does that person struggle with something that I find to be easy and fun?”

Every day in our jobs or otherwise in our lives, there are things that each of us enjoys doing and things that we don’t ….. and they are different for each of us. Or maybe it is that, while we might do the same tasks, we might go about them in different ways and some of us get more fulfilment from completing those tasks than others.

Why is that?

It isn’t just about the education, training and experience or the natural physical, social or intellectual capabilities that each of us has, albeit that they are important for each of us.

In the early 2000s, scientists started exploring what it is that helps people to be at their best. 50 scientists led by luminaries Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman looked across countries and cultures and thousands of people for those qualities that are universally considered to be the strongest parts of being human (Refer: “The Power of Character Strengths: Appreciate and Ignite Your Positive Personality” by Ryan M. Niemiec & Robert E. McGrath). From that research, the VIA Classification of Character Strengths and Virtues was created.

Character strengths are basic elements of our identity and each of us is stronger in some strengths than others. It is when we are able to use the signature strengths that we are likely to be at our best in performance, in relationships and in personal wellbeing and happiness. Similarly, when we have to deploy our lesser strengths to perform a particular task, we can find that a struggle because it doesn’t come naturally to us and we have to work harder at it.

The VIA Classification comprises 24 character strengths grouped under 6 virtues as depicted in the graphic below.

You can undertake a free survey to identify your character strengths profile at

Why might you want to do that?

I’ll tell you what doing this survey and understanding my character strengths profile has done for me:

  • I have a much clearer sense of my own personal identity and how I can be at my best
  • I now know why it is that I struggle with some tasks and I can manage that better
  • I have improved my wellbeing by doing stuff that fits with my signature strengths every day
  • I have also been more mindful of and compassionate to myself when I have had to exercise my lesser strengths (and rewarded myself for getting through the struggle)
  • I better understand how I can make my best contributions for others – essentially by being who I am and leveraging my signature strengths for their benefit
  • I am happier and more resilient

Additionally, understanding the character strengths of others (clients, friends, colleagues, family) has helped me to better understand how I can best support them with my character strengths and draw on their character strengths in a positive way for themselves and others including me.

That is why the practice of character strengths is such an essential element of positive psychology and a key ingredient in the consulting work that we do today.

If you haven’t done the VIA Character Strengths Survey, give it a go – there is only upside. Here is the link again


Author: Peter Maguire



Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
Abn : 24 091 644 094

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm


Is the new Wage Theft law a worry?

Is the new Wage Theft law a worry?

The Victorian Parliament recently passed the Wage Theft Bill 2020 which is expected to take effect by no later than 1 July 2021 (ie sometime in the next 12 months).

Should you be worried about that?

The odds are that, if you are reading our blogs, you are compliant or you want to ensure that you are compliant with your wage obligations as an employer.

If that is the case, don’t worry about the Wage Theft legislation – celebrate it! Yes, that’s right – PARTY!!!

We all know that there are unscrupulous businesses out there who deliberately rip workers off – they are the ones that this legislation is targeted at and they deserve it.

Don’t forget that they are also unfairly gaining a commercial advantage over the business owners who are doing the right thing…… you!

We know that there have been quite a few celebrated cases of wage underpayments involving celebrities and household name corporates.

Some of those probably did know that they were not compliant but thought they wouldn’t be caught.

Some probably got adventurous legal advice that sounded good but was really ill advised.

Others may well have had their own HR staff but Fair Work/workplace relations is a very complex field requiring specialist knowledge which is not as common as you might think among HR Practitioners.

Many of those exposed businesses have learned their lessons – the hard way – and many remain under the watchful eye of the Fair Work Ombudsman via undertakings and reporting requirements. So even they are unlikely to be really troubled by this new Wage Theft legislation.

So let’s just be clear on what do you need to do to be doing the right thing (if you are not already doing it) and not have to worry about this legislation:

  1. Ensure that you understand and meet your obligations to your employees under legislation, regulations and modern awards
  2. Have clear and compliant employment agreements that set out clearly what the wages and employment conditions are and which reference any relevant modern award and/or enterprise agreement
  3. Maintain all required employment records accurately and up to date and
  4. Have access to competent professional advice on Fair Work compliance and other workplace relations/HRM matters

You tick those 4 boxes and you are not likely to have any worries about compliance. We can help you with that.

Now, as for the bad guys, this is what the Wage Theft legislation means for them.

The offences (in general terms) are:

  1. Dishonestly withholding at least part of an employee entitlement; or
  2. Falsifying an employee entitlement record to dishonestly obtain or cover up a financial advantage; or
  3. Failing to keep an employee entitlement record to dishonestly obtain or cover up a financial advantage;

Offences can attract penalties of up to $991,320 for bodies corporate and 10 years’ jail for individuals.

A Victorian Wage Inspectorate with wide ranging inspection and enforcement powers is to be established with its own Commissioner.

If you haven’t the benefit of professional advice on your workplace relations compliance situation or you just want to make sure, you might want to take advantage of our Lockdown Special Offer on a Fair Work Compliance Assessment. Check it out.