3 Hard Truths About Developing Your Strengthsby Joe Folkman October 21, 2016
Effective leaders have widely different personal styles. There is no one right way to lead. We can approach leadership from many different angles, but the key to success is developing strengths. I often find the concept of “using your strengths” is confusing to some individuals. So today I want to share some truths I’ve found through researching strengths-based development to help leaders gain more knowledge (as well as to clear up a few misunderstandings).
1. Firstly, strengths are not always your passions.
Is a strength something you are zealous about, that you enjoy doing and that energizes you? No. That statement defines your passion. Individuals often confuse strengths with passions. People can be widely passionate about something they are not competent in. How many majors did you cycle through in college? Eventually, students find a “sweet spot” in an area they both like and can excel in. So what is a strength? It is something in which others would consider you exceptional. Research has shown there is a correlation between passion and competence. It’s not surprising that people tend to have more competence in areas where they have stronger passion.
2. Secondly, trying to be perfect in everything results in mediocre leadership.
Leaders who are moderately effective and who preoccupy themselves with incremental improvement of less positive issues will never move from good to great. Great leaders do not standout because they fixed a few minor weaknesses. They prevail because they are extraordinary in certain areas. Many leaders worry that it’s their weaknesses that negatively impact their effectiveness. They believe they’ll be defined or judged by their flaws. But this only becomes true if a person has no strengths. A study I conducted at Zenger Folkman of more than 65,000 leaders showed that those who possess just three standout strengths were rated at the 80th percentile in overall leadership effectiveness. So the good news is that you don’t have to be good at everything. You only need to hone in on a few specific areas to stand out and differentiate yourself as a leader who is great. Continued on Forbes.com.