Strengths Training For Leaders: Part 2Posted: September 26, 2012
Part 2: Who, Really, Is On Your Team?
Who is on my team?
Have you ever played a pick up game of flag football or basketball, and teams are picked, and you can’t remember who is on your team?
Who should be the quarterback?
Who can catch?
What do you do?
You ask everybody:
“Hey, can you throw?”
“Can you kick?”
“What play should we run?”
“Whose team am I on?”
Imagine yourself at work or church and not knowing who is on your team.
Should you just hand out jobs like it’s Halloween? To anybody that’s standing in front of you? What do you ask people to do, if you don’t know what they are good at?
In the last post we looked at the need for a leader to focus on what she does well. And to let everything else fall away.
But not forever, and here is where your team comes in. They can pick up the slack for you and for each other.
In Strengths-Based Leadership, Tom Rath described this process.
He talked about effective leaders and how they surround themselves with the right people and build on each other’s strengths.
Mr. Rath worked closely with many great leadership teams. He discovered that every team had strong elements of all four of these domains:
The 34 strengths we briefly looked at in the last post fit into these four domains.When you learn your team’s strengths, you can develop a team that has aspects of all four domains.
“Although individuals need not be well-rounded, teams should be.”
Leaders should know their own strengths and their weaknesses. Rath says that they should know “who they are and who they are not.” Then form a team to bolster your weaknesses.
Effective teams, Rath says, can discuss openly their strengths and how to utilize them best. He goes on to describe how these strong teams also have 5 things in common:
1. Conflict doesn’t destroy strong teams because strong teams focus on results.
2. Strong teams prioritize what’s best for the organization and then move forward.
3. Members of strong teams are as committed to their personal lives as they are to their work.
4. Strong teams embrace diversity.
5. Strong teams are magnets for talent.
When you have built your team, the work is not finished. You must continually develop your team’s strengths, give them opportunities to grow. And you must continue to build stronger relationships within your team.
If we go back to the flag football analogy, now can we say what position everyone should play? Can we take advantage of everyone’s strengths? To the benefit of our team? Can we pass and catch and block effectively? So now that we are an effective team, what is our goal?
That is up to you.
What could a focus on strengths do for your team?
We have examined what a leader needs to do to focus on strengths, but now what do the followers need? For the answer, stay tuned for the next post.