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High Performance: Joining the strengths-based leadership movement

September 16, 2020 -  By
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Photo: ronstik/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Photo: ronstik/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

A new approach to leadership is gaining momentum and it’s time for all leaders to join the movement. In fact, it is essential for today’s leaders to get on board. The train has already left the station. If you run, you might be able to catch it. What movement am I referring to?

For far too long, managers have focused on a person’s deficiencies, shortcomings and weaknesses, in an effort to help the person improve in these areas. The same approach has historically been followed by our educational system. Instead of identifying and developing areas of natural, God-given talent, the focus is placed on remediation. The student who is naturally gifted in music doesn’t receive private music lessons; instead she gets a math tutor to help her understand algebra. Ugh.

Thankfully, a new approach has taken root and is being embraced by leaders, teachers and coaches with outstanding results. The reality is that we all have natural talents. Why not take this natural talent and develop it into something amazing? This is what the movement is all about and it’s exactly what the next generation is expecting from their employers.

This approach is all about getting your people in the right seats on the bus, to use a common analogy. A person who shares your values and believes in your mission may be suitable to be on the bus, but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily in the right seat on the bus, or doing the right things in their seat.

Often times, a person who is struggling in their role is simply in the wrong role or is being forced to perform their work in a way that doesn’t allow them to utilize their natural talents. By understanding more fully this person’s unique talents, we may be able to move them into a role that is better suited, or adjust their work routines to allow them to accomplish their work in a way that better aligns with their natural talents.

Many turnover situations are avoidable, but they occur due to lack of understanding of this concept. People become frustrated when their talents are not recognized, appreciated, or utilized. People tend to shut down when they are micromanaged by a boss who doesn’t have a clue about how best to motivate them. Instead of giving 110 percent with enthusiasm, they may only give 75 percent with an attitude. Why bother giving more?

As such, today’s leaders would do well to incorporate personality assessments into their selection, onboarding and team-building practices. My business partner, Neal Glatt, and I are certified to help organizations with two different assessments: the Clifton Strengths assessment by Gallup (formerly called StrengthsFinder) and EVERYTHING DiSC by Wiley. These assessments provide life-changing insights into the uniqueness of the individual and offer tools for teams and companies to leverage these unique talents.

Now go forth.

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About the Author:

Harwood is a Managing Partner with GrowTheBench and Pro-Motion Consulting. Reach him at Phil@GrowTheBench.com. He is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager, NALP Trailblazer, NALP Consultant, and Certified Snow Professional. Harwood holds a BA in Marketing and Executive MBA with Honors from Michigan State University.

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