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Understand your Strengths to Become a Better Leader

The world is changing. Fast. Therefore, we need to change too.

The way to get ahead is to start now.

We dedicate time towards developing ‘hard’ skills that are easily quantifiable such as learning how to use photoshop, or building a complicated spreadsheet, but we don’t tend to give this same level of dedication to skills such as leadership. Wrongly, people assume leadership is something you are born with or something that automatically improves over time as you work your way up the ladder but occupying a leadership position is not the same thing as leading.

Investing time into yourself and your leadership skills is incredibly important and should not be overlooked if you really want to get ahead. Leading well requires a continuous journey of personal development.

Remember, as a leader your team doesn’t work for you. You work for them. They’re looking to you for direction and feedback to ensure they can do their job as efficiently and as successfully as possible. Each individual is motivated by different things and understanding that each person will need individual and specific attention will help unlock the potential of the business as a whole. Furthermore, 83% of job seekers are likely to base their decision on where to apply on company reviews meaning if you want to attract top talent, you must be nurturing the talent you already have.

"Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships." – Michael Jordan

The first step towards becoming a better leader is to identify your strengths and this same principle applies to your team. Instead of focusing on what is lacking in employee’s performance, imagine what might happen is you invested this time into developing strengths instead? The modern leader is dynamic and generates positive energy for themselves and others. Research shows that positive energy in leaders has four times more impact than influence - the traditional currency of leadership.

A survey by Gallup found that only one percent of employees become disengaged if their managers actively focus on their strengths, while 40 percent become disengaged if their key skills are ignored.

It has been proven that people who focus on their strengths are:

■ Happier

■ Experience less stress

■ Are more confident

■ Experience faster growth and development

■ Are more creative and agile at work

■ Are more engaged in their work

■ Feel more satisfied and experience more meaning in their work

How do I discover my Strengths?

At BarrettClark & Duncannon, as part of our Senior Leadership Coaching programme, we recommend completing a Gallup CliftonStrengths 34 Talents and Strengths Survey followed by an analysis and debrief session and creation of a personalised and comprehensive 12-month action plan. We really understand leadership and, with a combined 40 years’ industry, sector specific experience, we can apply all our learnings and insights from actual business challenges to give our leadership coaching genuine real-world context meaning it can immediately be put into practice.

The CliftonStrengths Assessment is a far more powerful and appropriate tool for career transition compared with traditional psychometric testing and the findings can not only be applied to your own self-improvement but also to the empowerment of your new team to perform better.

What are Strengths?

Clifton Strengths is rooted firmly in science and the formula Talent x Investment = Strength captures a profound concept in a simple fashion. Talents, Clifton wrote, are your “naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling, or behaviour.” They are the innate, natural abilities you can productively apply, but to turn those talents into strengths, you must invest in them - practice using them and add knowledge and skills to them. Personal development is a journey, not a one-time event.

Gallup’s data shows that people who have the opportunity to use their CliftonStrengths are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and to strongly agree that they have the chance to do what they do best every day.


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