Episode 47: Three Myths About Your Strengths

The 90th Percentile: An Unconventional Leadership Podcast

Published: September 29, 2021


One of the most dramatic changes in leadership development in the last decade has been the shift in focus from correcting weaknesses to identifying and expanding on strengths. As this movement continues to catch hold, three myths have emerged that deserve to be dispelled.

Key Learnings

From the podcast, here are some key learnings and insights:

1. Shift in Leadership Development Focus: Over the last decade, there has been a significant shift in leadership development from correcting weaknesses to identifying and expanding on strengths. This shift is considered a more effective approach to leadership development.

2. Myth #1: Focusing on Strengths is a Fad: The idea of focusing on strengths is not a new or impractical concept. As far back as 1967, management guru Peter Drucker emphasized the importance of making strengths productive for effective leadership.

3. Myth #2: Strengths Taken to Extremes Become Weaknesses: Contrary to the belief that overusing strengths can lead to weaknesses, leadership strengths don’t necessarily work this way. Overdoing a strength is often associated with overdoing specific behaviors, not the strength itself.

4. Myth #3: Strengths and Weaknesses Go Together: There’s a common misconception that strengths and weaknesses are interconnected in individuals. However, data from 360-degree feedback assessments indicate that it is rare for strengths and weaknesses to coexist in the same person. Most people with fatal flaws have no strengths, and the more strengths they have, the less likely they are to have a fatal flaw.

5. Strengths-Based Development is Effective: The podcast concludes that strengths-based development is a valuable and effective approach to leadership development. As this approach gains acceptance, dispelling the mentioned myths will help enhance its effectiveness.

Overall, the podcast highlights the importance of focusing on strengths in leadership development and challenges common misconceptions about this approach. It emphasizes that strengths-based development is supported by historical management wisdom and data from contemporary leadership assessments.

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Additional Resources

Three Myths About Your Strengths Article by Jack Zenger & Joe Folkman