SALT LAKE CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Is a strength something you are zealous about, that you enjoy doing and that energizes you? Does focusing on weaknesses produce mediocre leaders? Can strengths be developed? It seems there are still a lot of questions and confusion about strengths-based leadership and the best approach to building strengths.
“People often confuse strengths with their passions,” said Joe Folkman, CEO of Zenger Folkman. “People can be widely passionate about something they are not competent in. How many majors did you cycle through in college? Eventually, students find a 'sweet spot' in an area they both like and can excel in. So what is a strength? It is something in which others would consider you exceptional. We do know there is a correlation between passion and competence. It’s not surprising that people tend to have more competence in areas where they have stronger passion.”
Leaders who become preoccupied with fixing small weaknesses struggle to become great leaders. Why? In their effort to become “good” at everything they fail to be great at a few things. Strengths help leaders standout. One study Zenger Folkman conducted on over 65,000 leaders showed that those who possess just three standout strengths were rated at the 80th percentile in overall leadership effectiveness.
What is the best way to go about developing those strengths? Non-linear development. For example, if people try to become more strategic by re-reading strategy books or re-taking classes, they seldom increase their success, in a similar way that runners have discovered that it takes more than just running longer distances to become better. They learn to cross train. Every leadership competency has highly correlated companion competencies that help improve that behavior. Understanding them gives the leader additional ways to improve their effectiveness. Strengths increase more effectively when approached in a non-linear way.
“If there is one thing that most leaders have come to realize about themselves, it’s that they are unique,” said Folkman. “So by turning your unique abilities into profound strengths, you become an extraordinary leader.”
To learn more ways to build strengths attend Zenger Folkman Webinar, Focus on Strengths- What Extraordinary Leaders Do Differently, on Wednesday, October 26, 2016. For more information on these findings, and how to incorporate them into a leadership development plan, visit www.zengerfolkman.com.
Zenger Folkman is the authority in strengths-based leadership development. Their award-winning programs employ research-based methods that improve organizations and turn good managers into extraordinary leaders.