If you’re a business owner, or you find yourself regularly reading anything business related, you’ve probably noticed a buzz around strengths-based everything over the past several years: Strengths-based management, strengths-based leadership, strengths-based focus, Strengths Finder and the list goes on.
Much of the “buzz” was a result of a 30-year Gallup study that asked questions of organization leaders and employees and found that one of the largest differentiating factors between the most productive employees and the least was the ability of leaders to focus on the strengths of their employees and the ability of employees to tap into their natural strengths.
This shattered traditional notions of leaders and managers working to help their employees improve upon their weaknesses.
What’s It All About?
The theory is that spending time building awareness of our strengths and then leveraging those strengths to our advantage is not only time well invested, but has the potential to increase productivity and job satisfaction exponentially.
It means that a leader’s goal is not to be well-rounded, but instead to be acutely aware of what they are good at, to continue to improve those areas and then surround themselves with people who’s natural strengths are complementary to their own.
It means that leaders need to be able to tap into the strengths of their employees and turn those strengths into performance and productivity.
It turns out that what most of us are naturally good at, are also areas we tend to enjoy spending time on.
For instance, one of my strengths is learning, I love the process of learning, and some of my favorite tasks are those that involve me setting out to learn new things about individuals and clients I work with or a subject area relevant to my work. It’s motivating to me, it’s fun, and exciting and engaging. I’m naturally productive when I get to learn about something new or interesting.
The Gallup study set about proving that this is a common experience for most people in their work. They love the things they’re naturally good at, and if leaders can tap those natural strengths, its very likely to result in motivated, engaged, productive employees.
Stay tuned to our next blog post where we’ll offer some helpful tools to discover your strengths and give some tips about how to think about weaknesses when we’re focusing so much on our strengths.