When you are in leadership, it’s easy to get caught up in the negatives – for example:
- things that aren’t being done properly;
- mistakes that have been made;
- weaknesses in the team;
- the problems that arise.
But here’s the thing – just like when you look through a microscope, what you focus on is magnified. It makes things seem larger than they really are.
A Strengths Based Approach to Leadership
A strengths based approach to leadership on the other hand, looks at what’s strong, not what’s wrong.
Originally developed by social workers, the philosophy behind strengths based practice was to help people to overcome their problems by identifying, and then building on, the resources, skills and characteristics which they already possessed.
By the very nature of social work, these people were usually in times of crisis.
However, the strengths based approach has proven useful when working with people in a diverse range of circumstances, and particularly in workplaces, management and leadership.
Lead by Serving
Have you ever heard the saying that the best leaders don’t just lead – they serve? This is particularly true of strengths based leadership. It is others focused.
It’s not about you as the leader – it’s about serving those who are following, building their strengths, and helping them to realise their potential.
The Strengths Based Leader
According to the book "Strengths Based Leadership, Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow" by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie, the strengths based leader:
- Knows their own strengths; AND
- invests in the strengths of others.
Essentially, strengths based leadership is about building relationship with each member of your team, finding their strengths, and helping them to pursue them.
Leadership is unlocking people's potential to become better - Bill Bradley
Benefits of Strengths Based Leadership
Although it is still early days for research into the benefits of strengths based leadership – there is evidence that it is a great boost to morale in the workplace. People are genuinely happier when working to their strengths, which leads to better health and wellbeing.
In the workplace, in education, in community settings, even in psychology, we’ve been too preoccupied with our flaws and weaknesses.
Instead, it's time to look at the positives - and get with the strength!
If you are particularly interested in finding out more about strengths based leadership, our Leadership Circles may be just what you need. Or, you can make an appointment to see one of our psychologists to learn ways to better handle the challenges of leadership, by calling 5527 0123 today.