The Secret Ingredient in Learning Leadership

Be Accountable

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Key Point: Leaders have a responsibility to continuously improve and sharpen our saw. You and I essentially have three overarching leadership objectives and desired outcomes:

  1. Achieve great results.
  2. Build effective relationships.
  3. Help others develop.

Achieving this requires relentlessly investing in three personal leadership areas. 

  1. Leading ourselves.
  2. Leading others.
  3. Leading the business.

Where should we concentrate our precious time and money to get the best personal leadership ROI? Research shows that the following principle is the secret ingredient to guide our personal leadership investment:

When leaders FOCUS their development efforts on BUILDING STRENGTHS versus shortcomings, motivation is much higher and real impact is significantly greater. 

The data supporting this principle is very clear. Those who concentrate their efforts toward developing strengths versus trying to overcome weaknesses create better plans and follow through in a more committed and effective way.  In one study, leaders centering on strengths reported that they made more advancement in their leadership effectiveness AND with their business results. They improved much more than the leaders who primarily attended to their weaknesses.  

There is an exception to this principle. When leaders have a fatal flaw that totally hampers guiding themselves or others for results, then addressing a major weakness is the right thing to do. If you’re striving for balance, focusing on strengths is absolutely where our efforts should be. See this if you want more research on the subject.

Character Moves: 

  1. Are you focusing on building and accelerating your strengths or are you struggling to move forward by trying to overcome weaknesses? For example, I could study statistical analysis (a weakness) for the rest of my life and arguably make a 10 percent improvement in my analytical skills. But, I know I can focus on becoming a better storyteller (an emerging strength) and improve 300 percent in that category. Where should I focus my leadership development? How about you? 
  2. We can always get incrementally better at elements that round us out, smooth out sharp edges, etc. However when leading yourself, leading others, and leading the business, you and I have strengths and passions for some attributes/skills that can make us truly masterful when fully developed. 

Strength Training in The Triangle,

– Lorne

One Millennial View: Anyone who has ever played basketball with me knows that, at the very best, I’m a “great passer.” That’s the equivalent to being commended for having a “great personality…” AKA, my overall gameplay is ugly! Could I go work on my jump shot and sink a few more 3’s in the future? Maybe, but what’s the point? Instead, I’ll skip that sport, and just focus on improving at the activities where I’m already getting picked to play because I can help win. I’ll always be game for that, and leaders should be too.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis