“Insight 11, continued with the last sentence from last week’s post: In general in examining all of our data, it is clear that the greater the number of strengths you have, the more likely you are to be considered a great leader.
This has enormous implications for executive selection processes, which seem often to be seeking people who possess no flaws. It seems that the emphasis should be on seeking people with remarkable configurations of strengths. Proven track records of accomplishment stemming from competencies appear to be the key to finding great leaders.
This also has enormous implications for leadership development. In the past we have often focused our efforts on patching over weaknesses. When executives are given a 360-degree feedback report, the consistent reaction is to ignore the pages describing their strengths, and immediately focus on weaknesses, which in most cases are simple behaviors that are rated as less positive rather than real fatal flaws. It is as if strengths are givens, and the thing to work on is weaknesses or less positive areas. Increasingly we are convinced this is a mistake. It is far better to magnify strengths, or create strengths out of those characteristics that are in positive territory but not fully developed. Leaders who are moderately effective and preoccupy themselves with incremental improvement of less positive issues will never move from good to great.
I’m also guilty of looking at my weaknesses first, and ignoring strengths, even in these senior years of mine. They have been there a long time, but my strengths were recognized by those whom I served, and that is sufficient.
When leaders focus on their strengths the organization will thrive, with one caveat. Their weaknesses need to be “covered” by their staffs. Those leader staffs must include those who possess the skills and abilities to overcome the leaders inability/weakness in those areas. In order for that to happen the leader must value trust, open communication, expectations, goals, teamwork as well as other skills I’ve written about. Not an easy task but well worth the effort.
Next: The Extraordinary Leader
Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders
AN OVERVIEW OF IMPORTANT IDEAS IN THIS BOOK