I bet you’ve seen or experienced this at sometime in your life. People were selected and promoted as leaders based primarily on knowledge, skill set, competence, fit in the box, or who they know.
The best sales person becomes the sales “manager”, even if he or she’s not a great people “leader”. Top technical person in IT winds up as the CIO. The top financial expert gets promoted to CFO, and so on.
Among the teams Gallup studied, team members were selected or promoted based primarily on knowledge or competence.
Effective leaders surround themselves with the right people and build on each team members strengths. Most cases, teams are a product of circumstances more than design.
Rarely are people recruited to a team because their strengths are the best complement to those of the existing team members.
When is the last time you heard a leader talking about how your team needed to add a person who not only had the technical competence, but who could also help build stronger relationships within the group? Or someone who could help influence others on behalf of the entire team?
The vast majority of the time, we recruit by job function but ignore individuals’ strengths.
What’s worse, when leaders do recruit for strengths, they all too often pick people who act, think, or behave like themselves. Unintentionally in most cases. Its an age old dilemma.
Israeli President Shimon Peres expressed his views on leaders in an interview with Gallup:
“What you have to think of is the potential of the person, not his appearance. And if you can discover hidden potentials, that can make a great difference to your organization. You have to distinguish between loyalty and brilliance. Most leaders prefer loyalty over brilliance; they’re afraid that they’re going to be undercut. My view is different.”
Peres went on to describe the importance of getting talented people on his teams and helping them discover more about their unique strengths.
As a team member, do you know your strengths?
Leaders, do you know your strengths and your team members strengths?
Are you building your team based on strengths?
Strengths Based Leadership – Gallup, Tom Rath, Dr. Don Clifton