When management practices strengths-based leadership, they hire and form stronger teams, sparking an eightfold increase in the odds of engaging employees in their work. This yields greatly increased organizational and personal gains.
Specifically, the Gallup research shows that when leaders fail to focus on individuals’ strengths, the odds of employee engagement drop to a dismal 1 in 11 (9%). But when leaders focus on employees’ strengths, the odds soar to almost 3 in 4 (73%).
In Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow, New York Times-bestselling author Tom Rath and leadership consultant Barry Conchie reveal the results of extensive Gallup research. Based on their analyses, three keys to effective leadership emerge:
- Know your strengths—and invest in others’ strengths. (View my previous post here.)
- Hire people with the right strengths for your team.
- Understand and meet your followers’ four basic needs: trust, compassion, stability and hope.
The second key to effective leadership is to learn how to identify strengths and use them to hire and form effective teams. The most effective leaders surround themselves with the right people and maximize their team. The best leaders needn’t be well rounded, but their teams must be. Unfortunately, many leaders surround themselves with other people just like themselves.
4 Domains for Effective Leadership Teams
What does a leader have to do to select team members based on their strengths? Research shows there are four specific leadership domains important for effective leadership:
- Execution: Great leaders know how to make things happen. They work tirelessly to implement solutions and realize success.
- Influence: Leaders help their teams reach a broader audience by selling ideas inside and outside the organization.
- Relationship-Building: Leaders are the glue that holds a team together. They create an environment in which groups perform harmoniously for optimal results.
- Strategic Thinking: Leaders keep everyone focused on the possibilities for a better future.
To me, it makes sense to have a well-rounded team composed of individuals who vary in their strengths. But often people are grouped together because they are similar — and often similar to the boss!