What great leaders have in common is that each truly knows his or her strengths – and can call on the right strength at the right time.
~TOM RATH, author of Strengths Based Leadership
Using Gallup’s discoveries, authors Tom Rath and Barry Conchie show, in Strengths Based Leadership, how each person’s unique strengths can drive their success.
In recent years, while continuing to learn more about strengths, Gallup scientists have also been examining decades of data on the topic of leadership. They studied more than 1 million work teams, conducted more than 20,000 in-depth interviews with leaders, and even interviewed more than 10,000 followers around the world to ask exactly why they followed the most important leader in their life.
Three key findings emerged from this research:
1. The most effective leaders are always investing in strengths.
2. The most effective leaders surround themselves with the right people and then maximize their team.
3. The most effective leaders understand their followers’ needs.
As human beings, we have vast individual differences, and leaders are no exception. The best leaders have an acute awareness of their natural strengths–and their limitations. They understand where to invest their time to get the greatest return on their strengths. And they know the areas where they lack natural talent and need to reach out others.
Leading with achiever
[bluebox]People strong in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.[/bluebox]
BUILD TRUST: Establish relationships with others by working alongside them. Working hard together can be a bonding experience. When others see that you’re willing to put your shoulder to the wheel and work beside them, you’ll make a connection. Showing people that you see yourself as an equal, not a superior can inspire feelings of trust and respect.
SHOW COMPASSION: Every day, put at least one personal relationship goal on your list of things to do. You’ll make people feel worthy of your time and investment–plus you’ll have the satisfaction of checking the ‘done’ box daily.
Leading with adaptability
[bluebox]People strong in the Adaptability theme prefer to ‘go with the flow.’ They tend to be ‘now’ people who take things as they come and discover the future one day at a time.[/bluebox]
BUILD TRUST: You don’t grab the reins and try to take control. Rather, you are a co-traveler on the road of life. Your very lack of a personal agenda helps others come to trust that you are truly there to participate with, rather than manipulate them. Ask questions about where people want to go, and help them get there. They will know that you are truly on their side.
SHOW COMPASSION: Your ability to go with the flow creates a certain freedom from anxiety and allows frustrations to become more fleeting. This is good medicine for a number of other talent profiles. When others get stressed out, you’re able to put things in perspective. Help others find the comfort that comes from releasing a need to control every aspect of life. Free them to be happier, whatever the circumstances might be.
Leading with belief
[bluebox]People strong in the Belief theme have certain core values that are unchanging. Out of these values emerges a defined purpose for their life.[/bluebox]
BUILD TRUST: The talent of belief is more about an attitude of service than it is about a certain set of moral or spiritual beliefs. Show others what it means to be a servant leader. Get a team involved in doing something outside of themselves–something they do for the sole reason of helping another person or group. Demonstrate your belief talents in actions that speak far louder than your words ever can. That level of integrity will earn you true respect.
SHOW COMPASSION: Your values are a deep source of meaning for you. Talk with others about what’s more meaningful in their lives. Just being a sounding board about something as important as core values builds relationships. Learn what’s more important to the people in your life, whether you’ve known them a long time or just met them. Recognize that we all come from different backgrounds and go through different stages in our lives, and be accepting. Relationships can always grow. Listening creates a connection.