My life changed 11 years ago from a simple assessment revealing my core strengths. Based on 20-years of corporate leadership experience and tens of thousands of hours coaching and leading teams, I know strengths-based leadership is an accelerator of high-performance.
Let me repeat that, I know that applying a strengths-based approach to situations accelerates my performance at work and in life overall. Therefore, I know that you can do it too.
Where Strengths-based Leadership Began
It originates with Don Clifton asking the question, “What would happen if we studied what was right with people versus what’s wrong with people?” Today, 24,143,038 people completed the CliftonStrengths assessment (Formerly knows as Clifton or Gallup Strengthsfinder).
Higher Performance Begins with You
Before you can effectively lead others, you must know how to lead yourself. Early on, I took on management roles with little direction or guidance from upper management. We call it the “sink or swim” leadership method. Sound familiar?
I made massive mistakes in my early career as a leader. I didn’t know the concept of learning my strengths, let alone applying the methodology.
Thankfully, the strengths assessment entered my life, and I fell in love… hard, with strengths-based development and positive psychology.
For the first time, my personality made sense. I was not supposed to be an extrovert like my Father. I felt self-acceptance, confidence, and peace. It was indeed that powerful.
Instant awareness transitioned to a craving to go deeper and apply the revelation of my strengths DNA.
Once I understood the meaning behind each dominant strength, I learned how to leverage my natural talents. For example, I recognized that I am at my best in small groups of people vs. large crowds, so I started declining large networking events and parties.
My energy level soared as I scheduled activities, work, and social events to align with my natural wiring. Delegating tasks where I am deficient in natural abilities became a joy vs. guilt. I learned how to lead myself effectively.
Why Strengths-Based Leadership Wins the Leadership Game
First and foremost, Strengths-Based Leadership gives you the confidence to lead your staff. It provides a foundation for leading people to a better future and giving them a positive perspective on life and their world.
This robust leadership approach improves delegation capacity, increases team diversity, creates a more collaborative leadership style and improves your communication skills.
To be the most successful leader, invest in your strengths development first. Moreover, develop a habit of applying your strengths to daily living and watch your progress reach the most admired ranks. Then you can yield an eight-fold increase in engagement by focusing on and investing in your team member’s strengths.
It’s important to highlight that there is no specific combination of strengths that predicts or contributes to outstanding leadership. There are defined themes and dominant traits with leadership styles, but one type is not better than the other when applied appropriately. When you, as a leader, understand a person’s strengths, you can adjust your management approach to fit the needs of individuality.
Finally, to be the most influential leader, surround yourself with the right people to maximize your team. Remember, it is the strength of your team that makes the ultimate leader.
How Did Strengths-Based leadership Accelerate Performance Within My Teams?
I recall the impact of applying Strengths-Based leadership for the first time. I was annoyed when one of my team members frequently invited people to meetings that I scheduled. I interpreted the action as a team member being disrespectful by interfering with my meeting goals.
Once we reviewed the team grid plotting each person’s strengths, we learned that my strengths wiring was vastly different from hers. I wanted a small, efficient meeting, and she was attempting to help by bringing in more opinions and not leaving anyone out.
We learned that “Includer” is a dominant strength of hers, and it was low on my spectrum. My goal was efficiency and speed, while she wanted consensus and inclusion. We viewed the meeting goals and outcomes as the opposite.
This small yet powerful insight improved our working relationship. We laughed about it and resolved a misunderstood issue. There are numerous stories I can share from my experience using Strengths-Based Leadership, which improved teamwork, productivity, communication, collaboration, trust, and respect.
What’s Next for You?
Step 1) Ask yourself the question, “what type of leader do I want to be?” Then ask yourself, “how am I going to get there?” Most of us don’t think about leadership this way. In my early career, I wanted to stop repeating the same mistakes with those I managed—tackling each scenario vs. a much bigger and grander picture of effective leadership. Without discovering the power of the Clifton Strengths assessment, I know my progress would be minimal at best.
Step 2) Take the Clifton Strengths assessment to reveal your strengths DNA results.
Step 3) Hire a certified strengths coach if you want individual coaching. Facts reveal that those who take the assessment without a trained coach are less likely to apply the information in real life. It becomes “yeah, I did that but didn’t see any results.” Instead, a coach will help you understand your results and teach you how to apply and leverage the information.
Or, if you are interested in adding strengths-based leadership to your team, you can hire my firm to help. I design corporate leadership development programs with strengths as the foundation, John Maxwell leadership skills training, emotional intelligence, and my real-world Fortune 500 executive know-how.
- Understanding your strengths is the starting point to release your highest potential and accelerate your performance.
Don Clifton started his research in 1949 and still holds the official title of Father of Strengths-Based Psychology.
- Over 24 million people took the Clifton Strengths assessment so far, and growing. There is a global movement to release this intelligence for greater humanity.
- Strengths-based leadership improves teamwork, collaboration, trust, and communications.
- Clifton Strengths is the tool to establish a strengths-based leadership approach towards the most admired leader group.
- Become the type of leader you want to be from your natural wiring and reach levels you never knew possible.
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