Fast-track your career by building on your leadership strengths and minimizing the impact of your weaknesses.
It's now widely accepted that leadership can be learned and managers can be transformed into leaders through training and development. But, is all that money, invested in training and developing leaders, well spent by companies? Not if they stick with the old way of trying to make a leader good at everything!
Since the late 1990's, the Strengths movement, championed by Marcus Buckingham, co-author of, "Now, Discover Your Strengths"" has been gaining momentum. (Read my review of this book)
This book, based upon years of research conducted by the Gallup Organization, conclusively shows, that when you focus on enhancing your strengths, whilst applying damage control to your weaknesses you will transform yourself and your organization.
This isn't to say ignore weaknesses...just don't waste a lot of time, money, and effort trying to force performance from someone, who is never going to have a strength in a particular area. You are better off putting your efforts into finding ways to work around their weaknesses. Helping them to devise strategies to ensure that the weakness doesn't become a fatal flaw, for them or the team.
For example, I have a client, a CEO, who has been successfully leading a thriving organization for some years ... and one of his weaknesses is strategic thinking. His leadership strengths are in communicating the vision in such a way that people are inspired to come together to achieve it, and in building external relationships with potential new clients and suppliers.
Rather than spending a lot of time attempting to improve his capability in thinking strategically - he, rather wisely, surrounds himself with people who are naturally good at strategic thinking and uses their strengths to help him guide his organization forward. And, he gives much more focus on building and working to his leadership strengths.
Possibly you are working in an organization that still operates with the old-style thinking: for you to be an excellent performer you must excel in all areas. Therefore, you may need to introduce this information to people who are responsible for designing your leadership development program, so you don't waste your previous time on trying to build expertise at everything.
Certainly you must spend time in skills analysis and assessment so that you can identify your strength areas and highlight those areas of weakness that could cause you to crash and burn. But don't expect to become an expert in those areas in which you are weak.
Develop Strategies and Systems to Develop Your Strengths and Work Around Your Weaknesses
A well grounded leadership assessment and development program, will enable you and your people to use, grow, and develop your innate skills, talents, abilities. Your program should help you to put in place, strategies and systems to enable you to work around any weaknesses, that cause you to perform at a less than excellent level.
Make Sure That Your People Love The Type Of Activities You Have On Offer
When you are selecting people into your team, make sure that the types of activities they will be working on, are things that they feel terrific about doing - not just what they are good at doing. I'm sure you know plenty of people, who are in occupations that their parents thought would be good for them, but their life force is focused elsewhere.
Now you may be thinking, that's all well and good, but it is impossible to have everyone working to their strengths all of the time. And that's true. You can't necessarily create each job so that people are only working to their strengths.
But if you can get them working to their strengths proportionally more of the time, this will engage and energize them ... just as it will do for you!
"Now Discover Your Strengths" gives you a powerful and accurate way to discover your strengths. A terrific bonus, when you purchase the book, is that you receive a personal access code to their web-site and the StrengthsFinder questionnaire - this allows you to discover your own top-five innate talents.
The book also provides a practical 'how-to' for developing a strengths-based organization. If your organization is dedicated to high performance you'll do well to review and then modify your leadership assessment and development program to reflect the information contained within this book.
I hope you enjoy this video from Marcus Buckingham as he introduces how he came to be so passionate about the Strengths movement.
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