Issue No. 122 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting features a must-buy book for every leader. The authors write, “The most effective leaders understand their followers’ needs.” And this reminder, check out my Management Buckets website with dozens of resources and downloadable worksheets for your staff meetings.
“While the best leaders are not well-rounded, the best teams are.” That’s the big idea in the latest book in the “StrengthsFinder” series, Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams and Why People Follow. Written by Tom Rath (bestselling author of StrengthsFinder 2.0) and Barry Conchie, this insightful and practical next step on strengths was just published this month.
Wow. Gallup conducted 20,000 in-depth interviews with senior leaders, then another 10,000 interviews with followers. They have the data! Millions, from more than 50 countries, have taken the online StrengthsFinder assessment. The research-based insights and recommendations plow new ground. For example, “the most effective leaders are always investing in strengths.” They write, “The odds of an employee being engaged are a dismal 1 in 11 (9%). But when an organization’s leadership focuses on the strengths of its employees, the odds soar to almost 3 in 4 (73%).
Leadership is nothing without followers and this new book describes the four basic needs of followers: trust, compassion, stability and hope. “The chances of employees being engaged at work when they do not trust the company’s leaders are just 1 in 12.”
This is not dry, academic stuff. Four leaders—and their extremely diverse strengths—are profiled, using what they call the four domains of leadership strength: Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building and Strategic Thinking. Example: Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach for America, leverages her Executing strengths (Achiever and Responsibility). Her budget, after just 20 years, is $120 million. She knows the Top-5 Strengths of her key people—and how to leverage those strengths.
Other profiles include the CEO of The Ritz-Carlton (Influencing), the chairman of Standard Chartered Bank (Relationship Building), and the CEO of Best Buy (Strategic Thinking). The core idea for all four very different CEOs: it’s all about leveraging the strengths of their team members. “While the best leaders are not well-rounded, the best teams are.”
The research also delivers five findings on what strong teams have in common, such as “Conflict doesn’t destroy strong teams because strong teams focus on results.” Like the two predecessor books from Gallup (StrengthsFinder 2.0 and Now, Discover Your Strengths), this one also includes a unique access code so you can take the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment online. However, the new-and-improved upgrade delivers your strengths back to you (via email) with new insights on the four domains of leadership strength (Executing, etc.). The book also includes a three-page commentary on each strength and how to address your followers’ four basic needs using your Top-5 strengths.
To order this week’s book from Amazon, click on this title: Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams and Why People Follow, by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) What are the Top-5 strengths of your supervisor and each of your direct reports? If you don’t know, why might it be helpful to know this?
2) Gallup asked 10,000 followers, “What leader has the most positive influence in your daily life?” Then, “Now, please list three words that best describe what this person contributes to your life.” What would you write?
The Three Powerful S’s - Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
One of the big ideas in the People Bucket, Chapter 7, in Mastering the Management Buckets, is to understand the four social styles: Analyticals, Drivers, Amiables and Expressives. I recommend that you harness “The Three Powerful S’s” of your people: 1) Social styles, 2) Strengths, and 3) Spiritual Gifts. When you have a one-on-one meeting with your supervisor or a direct report and intentionally think about the unique person across the table from you (using the Three S’s), you’ll have amazing breakthroughs and increased engagement.
To learn more, read Chapter 7, the People Bucket. You can also download helpful “cheat sheets” to better understand how to work with all four styles. To order the social styles books or to download Worksheet 7.1, "Do's and Don'ts for the Four Social Styles,” visit the People Bucket page of my website. For a helpful “Weekly Update to My Supervisor” template (where you can list the Three S’s for yourself and your supervisor), visit the Meetings Bucket web page or read Chapter 20.
CEO/Board Dialogue – Jan. 20-21, 2009. CEOs and Board Chairs: Join your colleagues for this first-ever dialogue for the CEO and the board chair, a 24-hour retreat in sunny Phoenix in January with Bob Andringa, Fred Laughlin and Dale Lefever. It’s limited to 12 teams of two (24 people). For more information, visit www.CEODialogues.org.