Leaders today need to foster their own strengths, as well as the strengths of their teams. Contrary to popular belief, strengths are not necessarily what a person excels at! While strengths may be synonymous with being exceptional at a particular task, individuals must also feel passionate and, ultimately, empowered by their strengths.
Within Marcus Buckingham’s book, Go Put Your Strengths to Work,1 four SIGNs lead to recognizing strengths:
Success = effectiveness in the activity
Instinct = an innate draw to the activity
Growth = learning and developing through concentration on an enjoyable activity
Needs = a sense of personal fulfillment, despite the activity being draining
The most potential for growth exists in areas where there are foundational core strengths. Emphasizing what is already going well and building upon it typically will result in greater success—rather than dwelling on an activity for which there is no motivation.
For example, a project manager typically has fundamental strengths, such as solid organizational and communication skills. Developing these skills by managing projects across different lines of business and functional areas will continue to enhance the project manager’s core skill set. In addition, to truly possess this strength and blend the possession of skills with empowerment, the project manager must feel a sense of personal satisfaction in transforming an idea into a reality.
Building upon our strengths is an ongoing process—as our strengths require subtle refinements to meet new situations. Business leaders need to encourage and foster the improvement of existing strengths—not only for themselves, but for their teams—to achieve continued success.
- 1. Buckingham, Marcus. Go Put Your Strengths to Work. New York: Free Press, 2007. ↩