Strengths-based leadership creates a win-win situation for the profitability of the company and for your teams.
It is, unfortunately, human nature to look for the negative. We see that in the news, in our environment and at work. If you go looking for something you will find it, this works for both good and bad. We can tend to focus on team-members past mistakes, their faults and anything else that doesn’t fit. It is human nature to try and fix things, and so we find issues and problems so that we can solve them. We use this approach on projects we work on and when we evaluate our team members. Solving puzzles feels good, but this is where we go wrong, as people are not puzzles to be fixed. As leaders, if we begin to shift our focus on our team-members strengths and passions, we create an impassioned group of brand ambassadors that, when empowered, can take our brand, products and company to a higher level.
The keys to strengths-based leadership are knowing your own strengths and investing in others, calibrating people with the right strengths for the right role on your team, as well as understanding and meeting the four basic needs of those who look to you for guidance.
Four basic needs of employees are;
1. Trust. Create a culture of transparency. When your team trusts you, they are open about their motivations, passions and dreams and are more likely to be engaged. When you listen to them (not just hear but actively take note), they will give 110%. A culture of trust also creates a safe environment for diversity of culture, perspectives, ages, and genders to flourish. A workplace where people are not afraid to share differing opinions or disagree. As a leader, you can guide your team in the right direction without dampening their ingenuity and enthusiasm.
2. Empathy. Having a leader care about them, and who invests in how they will grow in their careers will create fiercely loyal and productive team members.
3. Empowerment. People thrive on a level of autonomy and ownership. Once you understand their strengths you can provide the guard rails and the empowerment for your teams to achieve their goals as they see fit. They may not do it the way you would have, but that is what creates diversity and innovation.
4. Hope. Having a clear picture of the direction your team is heading and sharing your passion for the vision and understanding how each team member contributes and how their passions align is the difference between having passive passengers or fellow active travellers. Taking risks and unconventional thinking is where companies thrive not just survive and this where you want your team to be, engaged and on the cutting edge, looking towards the horizon for the next summit to climb.
Leadership is an opportunity to grow. Strengths-based leadership means encouraging people to turn their strengths into superpowers, guiding them to find the path they are passionate about. That, and only that, will create an influential culture and sustainable levels of innovation.
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