01 May ABCD of Strengths Based Leadership
Align strengths, not fix weaknesses.
Imagine people in your team are like puzzle pieces. To see the big picture you need to align these pieces in a way that they fit and complement each other. If you force the connection – the result will be quite questionable even in the puzzle metaphor. Therefore, talk to your team members, find out about their character traits, talents, passions and skills. Then you can assign roles and projects based on what makes each team member tick. You might find that some are not into analytics, while others would trade their projects for something number-focused. So next time when assigning projects ask the team – ‘Is there someone who would love to take this one on?’
Build a team with diverse strengths.
Diversity is one of best catalyzers of creativity. Therefore, when forming the team, don’t just hire yes-men, but rather see how new members will stand out and fill the gap of strengths in the team. Think again of the puzzle analogy – if there all puzzle pieces are exactly the same, neither they will fit each other, nor they will complete the big picture. Appreciate each team member for their unique “knobs” and “holes”, strengths and weaknesses. Only then the result can be truly beautiful.
To complete the points above on managing by strengths, one needs to talk with the team and really listen to what the members say. But it also requires people willing to talk about and share their passions, motivations and dreams. To achieve that one needs to create the culture of transparency where team members trust their leader. Then they will go extra mile for you.
Don’t manage, empower with strengths based leadership.
Having a diverse team built on complementing strengths is only the first step. The second step is for the team to appreciate each other’s strengths and to leverage for achieving better results. Hence, your role as a strengths-based leader moves from direct management to empowerment of team members to create the environment where every member feel recognized and their growth potential utilized.