Strengths Training For Leaders: Part 3

What Do They Need?

Being a leader is kind of a funny thing. You really aren’t a leader alone. You can’t study and learn and sit at home and be a leader. You have to have something else.


In the last two posts, we’ve looked at improving ourselves as leaders and as human beings by knowing our strengths. When we know our strengths, we can build on them. We get a greater return on our investment of time and energy than if we invest in our weaknesses.
Our team can take us to the next level by filling in for our weaknesses.
Now we can look at how we can meet the needs of our followers.
Tom Rath at Gallup, asked in a survey about a leader that influenced people’s lives. They then asked for three words to describe that person, or what that leader gave them.
After thousands of entries, these four general needs rose to the top of their results.

1. Trust
2. Compassion
3. Stability
4. Hope


We have all seen how quickly the media jumps on a story of a business or political leader being dishonest. To foster trust, a leader must,
“die keeping your promises.”

Relationships are key, even more than competence, according to Rath. Get to know your followers and have integrity, sounds easy enough, huh?


A leader has to care about people. A leader has to be positive, says Mervyn Davies in Strengths-Based Leadership, “employees don’t want to follow negative people.”


This means that your principles are solid. Nobody can question your motives. It also can mean transparency to your followers. They see you have weaknesses and you acknowledge them. That builds confidence in followers. Don’t try to cover up your weaknesses, people can see them, so consequently, they just see the cover up for what it is. Be who you say you are.


Tom Rath says in Strengths-Based Leadership, that most leaders react to the needs of the day. This shows followers that their leader is tossed about on the waves of life.
He continues to say that when leaders initiate action, they create hope. Just by choosing their direction, they share hope for their future.

This last point was really important for me in my business. I would start a training program with my team, or we would start a staff meeting, and someone would bring up an “emergency.” Great, so let’s all spend the rest of the meeting and the next week working on this “emergency.”
So nothing got done. And it was my fault, I let it happen. Once I chose to downgrade the “emergencies”, I felt lifted. I chose what we would discuss and train on, and not someone from outside our office. I felt the hope. I was directing my team to go where I wanted to go.

Now I have read and implemented many of these principles, but I am still working on developing my strengths.
I make mistakes, I have weaknesses, but I’m planning to lead, and my team will continue to lift me, and us, all up to new levels of greatness.

And I hope yours does too.


What can you do to build trust with your followers? What can you do to create hope with your followers?


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