Strengths Based Management


Over the my many years, I have been very fortunate to try different management techniques, fads or whatever is hot now.  Many of them, were employer recommended or part of my mandatory training. From just about everyone of them – I have taken some nuggets that help shape my management style. Over a year ago, I took strengthen management/leadership course. We used the Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath to frame the class.

The on-line survey took us about 15 minutes to complete and provided at the end – your top 5 strengths. Am I surprised by the strengths that the survey told me – not really. I know have better labels for those strengths. The question I have is does a manager truly understand his/her teams strengths? Does that person know their own strengths? I don’t mean the skills that they are good at – but their true strengths. So, as soon as the book comes in; I am going to have my team complete the survey, read part 1 (what is survey and why) and then read their top 5 strengths. Once done, we will have a team meeting to share our strengths and how we can apply them.

For those that are wondering – what are Steve’s strengths.. Well, I’m not shy – here you go.

  1. Arranger – I am a conductor. When faced with a complex situation involving many factors, you enjoy managing all the variables, aligning and realigning them until you are sure you have arranged them in the most productive configuration possible.
  2. Relator – describes my attitude toward your relationships. Making deeper connects.
  3. Responsibility – forces me  to take a psychological ownership for anything I commit to, and whether large or small, I feel emotionally bound to follow it though to completion.
  4. Strategic – enables me to sort through the clutter and find the best route. It is not a skill that can be taught. It is a distinct way of thinking, a special perspective on the world at large.
  5. Self-assurance is similar to self-confidence. In the deepest part of me, I faith in my strengths. I know that I am able – able to take risks, able to meet new challenges, able to stake claims, and, most important, able to deliver.

I decided that I was going to take this to my 10 person team –  we need to take an inventory of our strengths. The results for the complete team were solid (the team covered over 80% of the strengths in the book).For most folks, they did not feel too surprised by their individual results. They really should not, strengths are strengths. What they really enjoyed was learning what the other members of the team’s strengths were and how they could work better with their teammates.

We were in the middle of our performance management, I decided to focus more on taking the time to work with each team member to focus on their strengths. What would make them a valued member of the work team, the organization and the company. Really drive to their strengths. I used to focus on the areas of improvements and how they could be better. For the most part, this was met with little to moderate success.

Can you get away with only focusing on their strengths? Simple answer, No. There are those weaknesses that folks have that are necessary for their jobs in order to be successful. I call that the price of admission. You have to punch that ticket either way.

Is this working? So far it has been about three months, some of the team has really embraced this and are taking off. I have a few that would rather I tell them exactly what and how to do it, but that is okay. Price of admission… I am looking forward to the end of this year to see exactly how this is going to play out.