I like to listen to books while driving, (I find it is a great use of the time otherwise wasted listening to advertising on radio stations or depressing news) and I recently listened to Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath which promted me to go through the Leadership version of the famous Gallup organisations Strengths Finder program. I have had the privilege of undertaking the program while working at Microsoft and also undergoing a live session with one of the original developers of the program Marcus Buckingham, this happened some time ago and I was keen to do it again to see if I had managed to change my strengths over the last 10 years.
If you haven’t been through the program let me briefly explain; It consists of 178 questions where you have 20 seconds to rate yourself between two phrases either neutral or strongly agreeing with one or the other and it does some automagic in the background to come up with your top 5 strengths. There are 34 in all
To my surprise they had changed quite significantly.
Gallup found that it serves a team well to have a representation of strengths in each of the four domains of leadership strength: Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building, and Strategic Thinking. Instead of one dominant leader who tries to do everything or individuals who all have similar strengths, contributions from all four domains lead to a strong and cohesive team. This doesn’t mean that each person on a team must have strengths exclusively in a single category. In most cases, each team member will possess some strength in multiple domains.
According to our latest research, the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder themes naturally cluster into these four domains of leadership strength. My strengths cover the full spectrum with at least one fitting into each category.
|Influencing||Relationship Building||Strategic thinking|
What does this mean?
I have always had the ability to contribute to a team in some way and no surprise have been very good at executing which fits very well with my chosen career of Project Management. The real advantage to knowing your strengths is knowing how to use them and how they fit in with others in your team.
One thing I will definitely push in all my future teams is to go through this program, it gives a great understanding of how to maximise a teams collective strengths.