Leadership — it’s rewarding, yet incredibly challenging.
Of course, there’s a relentless pressure to perform, but there’s also an expectation that you will inspire others to do the same.
To do this, you really have to understand each individual - their personality, their values, their motivators, their experience and their career aspirations. You need to provide feedback, manage performance and support development opportunities. At the same time, you have to be commercially savvy, purpose-driven and strategic... #exhausting.
If you’re a driven, self-starter, you’ve probably read all sorts of books and publications, listened to hours of podcasts and watched countless webinars about how to balance it all and a better leader.
So, there’s no doubt you will have heard of this one thing, but are you actually doing it?
If you are, you’ll already be increasing engagement, improving performance, encouraging commitment, enhancing wellbeing and boosting the bottom line.
But if you’re not, here’s your chance…
Use a strengths-based approach with your direct reports.
Instead of doing what most organisations do — focusing on ‘gaps’ and ‘development opportunities’ — get to know the strengths of your direct reports, and find ways they can use them.
When we focus on our ‘gaps’, we take a deficit-approach and we become focused on proving, rather than improving. Of course, if we have development opportunities that are role critical, it’s important to work on them, but generally it’s more effective to focus on strengths — the things we do well, and find energising.
When we take this approach, we focus on improving, not proving.
No, focusing on strengths is not new. And it’s not ground-breaking. It’s been around for a while, and it’s simple and intuitive.
Yet there are very few leaders who actually do this. Why? Most leaders …
Don’t know what strengths are. There’s a misconception that strengths are things we’re good at.
Assume that their direct reports know their strengths and will tell them…
Don’t know where to start to identify strengths
Are simply doing what’s expected of them by the organisation and its #feedbackculture.
You’re a leader. The pressure is real. What you do (or don’t do), has a profound impact on the success of your organisation and your direct reports.
Consider the impact you want to have, and the approach you want to take: Get familiar with strengths — identify your own, and those of your direct reports — assign tasks and roles that align with individual strengths, and bring out the best in yourself and in others.
Discover our Strengths Cards — use them yourself and / or use them with your direct reports. You can complete the activity, or simply use them as a conversation starter. They're a work-life essentials for all leaders and managers.