Earlier this year, one of my SEI colleagues, Lisa Penn, contributed a guest blog to Front and Centered called Leading with Your Strengths: How to Be Your Best You. As you may remember, Lisa is an avid believer in Gallup’s StrengthsFinder and is actively pursuing an opportunity to become a Gallup-certified Strengths Coach. For those of you not familiar, StrengthsFinder is an assessment that helps individuals identify what they do best. It’s based on the philosophy that employees who utilize their strengths within their jobs are more engaged, more productive, and happier.
Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Lisa to better understand my own strengths, as well as those of my team. Recently, I sat down with her to have a discussion about the value of strengths. In the course of the conversation, Lisa asked me, “What would you say to a leader who has not taken the StrengthsFinder assessment yet?” Here’s a small part of our conversation.
I wholeheartedly believe that if we truly understand where we excel as individuals, we will excel as leaders. I have written many times about the need for leaders to be genuine and authentic. This starts with knowing who you are. But too often, we feel we must be the best at everything in order to lead. It’s simply not true.
What differentiates good leaders from great leaders?
- Understanding our limitations, as well as our strengths
- Being able to build a team that is as diverse in its strengths as it is in its skillsets
You will undoubtedly foster a more engaged team and have greater success if you are true to yourself and your innate talents, rather than trying to be someone or something you’re simply not.
Open yourself up
I am a firm believer in the value of knowing your strengths, but you have to be open to the process of getting there. You have to approach it with an open mind and be willing to test the results. We should not underestimate the importance of embracing “the soft skills.”
I intend to share more clips from my conversation with Lisa in future blog posts (and thank you, Lisa – I truly enjoyed the dialogue). I hope you get as much value out of watching it as I did participating in it. As always, I invite you to join the bigger conversation by commenting below. Let us know your thoughts. Have you taken the StrengthsFinder assessment? If not, what is holding you back? I would love to hear from you.