For years I have struggled with the incessant focus so many of us seem to have on people’s weaknesses. The tendency has stretched from the working world to the classroom; I saw this firsthand when my son, a card-carrying introvert (just like me), was told by his teachers that there was a problem — and the problem was that he needed to talk more (see our November 10, 2014, posting). My outlook on this issue completely changed when I heard the co-author of Now, Discover Your Strengths, Marcus Buckingham, speak at a conference. He, along with others, began a movement to train leaders to focus on building their team members’ strengths rather than searching for ways they could overcome their weaknesses.
In 2008, I discovered Leading From Your Strengths, an assessment tool within the strengths movement. After a little investigation, I decided to become a certified facilitator. Since then, I have had the joy of helping individuals all around the world.
You may ask, “How is this program different from other assessment tools?”
First of all, it focuses on a person’s strengths. It isn’t a personality test that labels you or tells you what you already know about yourself; instead, it predicts how you will behave when approaching problems, new information, change, and risk. While other assessments overlook the facts that some people are naturally optimistic while others are skeptical, different people handle risk in different ways, and some team members move faster while others are more thoughtful, Leading From Your Strengths takes into account all these possibilities.
From what I have seen, the real power of the tool is most evident when working with teams, because it helps individuals better appreciate their differences when making decisions and/or dealing with conflict. I believe the best companies value all points of view.
Do you fall into the same trap as our son’s teachers, who didn’t appreciate what was good about him and only commented on what they perceived as his negative trait? Do you ever find your team in conflict resulting from their different personalities and abilities? What are you doing about it?