***This article is inspired by chapter 7 of John C. Maxwell’s book Leadership Gold –
“Get In The Zone and Stay There.”***
Samuel Johnson once said, “Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities in which he does not possess.”
Peter Drucker also said, “Organizations exist to make people’s strengths effective and their weaknesses irrelevant.”
Both of these men are pointing to the wise leadership principle of understanding your strengths and delegating your weaknesses. This is extremely important for you, the leader, and then your team members.
Do you know your strengths?
Many leaders rise in roles and responsibilities without truly assessing their strengths. Rather, they simply move forward intuitively. While this is natural, it can hinder understanding your greatest contributions to your team or organization.
Another factor that I often see is that organizations do not utilize the strengths of their people across departments. It’s very easy to remain in silos and lack awareness of who can help solve problems and capitalize on opportunities outside of their immediate circles. For instance, some people are visionaries who can see farther ahead than others and develop strategies to get there. Others are specialists who can utilize their strength in the details to make things happen. Both roles are needed but can be overlooked if leaders are not paying attention to the strengths of their people.
So, how do you get in your strength zone and stay there?
1 – Assess your strengths
There are various tools and assessments that you can use. The Gallup organization’s CliftonStrengths (the tool used in StrengthFinders 2.0) is a popular starting point. Also, map your life in 5-year increments to study what events occurred and what lessons you learned throughout your life that you now apply as a leader. The DISC profile, Meyers-Briggs assessment, and the Enneagram tools are also good to understand your personality type and strengths you offer.
2 – Ask others for insight
What do your co-workers see in you? Ask your supervisor and employees. Ask your family and friends. Get an outside perspective. We don’t often see our strengths so we need the help of others.
3 – Practice and assess your outcomes
As you work, reflect on what is working and what is not. What comes easily to you and what feels like a grind? Raise your awareness so you can begin to see what strengths you have, apply them, and take note of the outcomes that occur.
Now that you have a better way to assess your own strengths, it’s time to develop the strength of others on your team.
Follow the following four steps that John Maxwell suggests in Leadership Gold:
1 – Study and know the people on your team
If you don’t pay attention to your team members, you will overlook their strengths. Keep an eye on them and take notes for a while to evaluate what they do well and how they best contribute to the team.
2 – Communicate to individuals how they fit on the team
Once you are clear on team members’ strengths, tell them. Remember, we don’t often see our own strengths and hearing from a peer or leader what strengths they see in us is both affirming and energizing.
3 – Communicate with all team members how each player fits on the team
Take the time to make sure each team member sees how his or her fellow team members fit on the team. Every team is like a puzzle made up of many skills and experiences. Maximize the strengths of the team by making sure that each person understands how others fit together.
4 – Emphasize completing one another above competing with one another
Finally, leadership and success is a team sport. If you are to achieve your organizational vision and goals, you must value your followers and help them value one another. As the leader, you must monitor the state of the team, including how they interact with each other. Beat the drum of working together to achieve a greater vision.
Getting in your strength zone requires continual effort. However, if you want to experience optimal results and achieve high levels of success, determine to know your strengths and the strengths of your team members. Then, make sure the team sees the strengths of one another so they can be their best together.
Until next time…make today GREAT!
P.S. If you need help developing a personal growth plan or implementing a leadership development program for your team, please contact me. I’d love to talk with you to determine how I can help!