Leadership: Strengths Based, Not Perfection Based
The updated message: know and leverage your strengths, build teams to be well-rounded, and know who you are – weaknesses and all.(I was relieved – the first book focused on strengths and basically ignored weaknesses. Understanding your weaknesses and how your team compensates is as critical as knowing and leveraging your strengths. Awareness and competency, not necessarily proficiency, are must-have goals.)
“Leaders do not need to be well-rounded, but teams do” is a concept supported by research indicating strong leaders who know who they are, and how to use their strengths, did a better job engaging their people. That’s big! Leaders who leveraged their strengths were better able to drive organizational growth – albeit different strengths and different styles of getting it done, but getting it done none-the-less. If you’ve taken the Strengths Finder, you know your “Top 5″. They are categorized into: Executing; Influencing; Relationship Building; and Strategic Thinking. The most successful leaders build high performance teams by drawing on these four categories, and complementing their own strengths. Not a unique concept but a good one. Healthy teams are diverse, they appreciate “candid conversations” and “different perspectives” – leading to robust dialogue. Healthy teams are “high performance” because they understand how to productively leverage their individual contributions.
After many year and lessons learned, I now understand where our Xerox leader was coming from. (isn’t “wisdom” a beautiful thing??) I work with leaders who bang their heads against the wall trying to be everything to all….or leaders who feel like failures for not being perfect…and sometimes the leader who figures out what their good at and how to use it to bring out the best in their people. Getting clarity and perspective about yourself and the impact you have on others is one of the best things you can do for your career…and for those who chose to follow you. She was right, I haven’t gotten straight A’s – but I have gotten A’s in my categories-of-choice…by leveraging my strengths, “knowing who I am”, and having the courage to not be perfect!
What are your strengths? How do you leverage them in your career? Let me know!