What are your strengths?
This is a typical question asked everywhere from interviews to discussions with colleagues. Most employees do not know what their true strengths are when asked. Why is that? That’s because most of their life their strengths have been dismissed.
The executive leaders of tomorrow recharge teams and raise them up. They do this by uniting their teams’ strengths and looking past weakness to find motive and passion that rests deep inside core strengths.
If you’re looking for a short cut, this is not it. This will take longer to develop than just focusing on weaknesses. Focusing on strength based leadership means you as a leader have to listen. Yes, you need to stop and actually ‘listen to understand’ what your team members are telling you. What do they love doing? What do they hate doing? Where do they feel pride? Really understanding motive allow doors to crack open and enable you as a leader to begin the process of identifying a team member’s strengths.
Every leader, leads in a different way. Their actions and character casts a shadow that either empowers their vision or detracts from it. You can’t lead from the back. You must lead the charge and break down barriers.
In Tom Rath’s book StrengthsFinder 2.0, he explores strength based leadership and the effect it has on teams. The book is a nice short read and provides a solid foundation upon which to take a brief assessment. The assessment questions help you make progress on two fronts. The first is the result of the assessment provides you a list of your strengths in the form of themes. The more dominant a theme is in a person, the greater the theme’s impact on that person’s behavior and performance. The second result of the assessment is the creation of an action plan of how to develop your strengths based on the themes that are most dominant for you personally.
I read this book a few years ago and it’s amazing how those themes stay consistent. Below are my dominant themes, based on my assessment from StrengthsFinder 2.0. It’s amazing how well these align to my personal and professional areas of excellence.
- Maximizer® People strong in the Maximizer theme focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. They seek to transform something strong into something superb.
- Individualization® People strong in the Individualization theme are intrigued with the unique qualities of each person. They have a gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together productively.
- Strategic® People strong in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.
- Self-Assurance® People strong in the Self-assurance theme feel confident in their ability to manage their own lives. They possess an inner compass that gives them confidence that their decisions are right.
- Arranger® People strong in the Arranger theme can organize, but they also have a flexibility that complements this ability. They like to figure out how all of the pieces and resources can be arranged for maximum productivity.
Check out the book for your team: