How Do You Manage the Strengths of Others? Or Do You Manage Their Weaknesses?

In 2008, Gallup put out an amazing piece of best-selling literature called Strengths-Based Leadership. I cannot speak highly enough about this book. It has helped me so much to understand how manage others by using the information obtained in the Clifton StrengthsFinder.

For those of you unfamiliar with the StrengthsFinder, click here.

This extremely resourceful leadership book is broken down into 3 parts:

  1. Investing in your strengths
  2. Maximizing your team
  3. Understanding why people follow

As a leader who manages nearly two dozen people remotely, I have found this book to be an incredible resource for managing them effectively, positively, proactively and profitably.

Within each individual strength assessment, the information about the candidate’s strengths is broken down 2 ways; from a leadership perspective and also the perspective of the one being led.

Let me explain…

When the individual takes the StrengthsFinder, it selects from 34 different types and highlights their top five strengths, as shown below. The words that are vertical are the 34 types.

clifton-strengthsfinder

These 34 types are then grouped into four different categories, which are shown horizontally.

  1. Executing
  2. Influencing
  3. Relationship building
  4. Strategic thinking

Each of these categories has a definition, as shown below:

managing-strengths

In my business, I have identified the type of characteristics that candidates possess to succeed and perform efficiently. When a new person is looking to join our team, I asked him/her to take the StrengthsFinder assessment to see where they fall in these categories.

In my business, the candidates best suited for productive profitable and efficient workflow contain strengths in executing and strategic thinking. The suitable candidate will have at least 3 out of the 5 top strengths in these two categories. The ideal candidate, well suited for efficiency and potential for generous income, will have 4 out of 5. The perfect candidate will have 5 out of 5.

Over the years, I have learned to use this as an evaluation tool to determine who I should invest in and who’s willing to invest in them self. This assessment really tells me a lot about the individual that their resume and work history just will not tell me.

Question: How many times have you been on a job and your manager has found out what you’re not very good at and ask you to do it better?

Well, that makes sense in some businesses, but in mine it does not. My goal is to find out what my teammates do well and ask them to do it more. By using the Strengths-Based Leadership book on a regular basis, I can refer to each strength individually and it will provide me guidance on how to manage this individual more effectively. I am also careful to pay attention to the order of the strengths, as 2 people with the exact same strengths (in a different order) are not managed the exact same way.

Within each strength, the information broken down into four categories from the perspective of the person being managed and some ideas about what they may be thinking and what motivates them.

  1. Build trust
  2. Show compassion
  3. Provide stability
  4. Create hope

Additionally, there’s another section within each strength that guides leaders how to manage others that possess the strength. This information alone is worth the cost of the book and if used properly can propel the growth of each individual tremendously. In fact, it will do more than you can imagine if used consistently.

Being that the individuals that I manage are working remotely, nearly half of them I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting. By using a tool such as this, it is giving me a giant jump-start in the form of a resource with the proven background to identify this before investing a ton of money.

I use this tool when I go on location to a customer facility for an efficiency consultation and guide management in how to effectively foster growth. It is such a simple thing, once understood, that so many companies just aren’t aware of. As a firm believer in Professional Development, I try to encourage my customers to do the same.

I cannot say enough about Gallup and the Clifton StrengthsFinder itself. Can you tell? I have been using it since 2010, when I was first made aware of it by my business coach.

I was very pleased, when in 2014; Gallup released the Entrepreneurial StrengthsFinder book which contains its own assessment from the entrepreneurial point of view. Overcoming my own shortcomings with such truthful information has given me a tremendous avenue of self-growth. After all, strengths don’t lie… weaknesses do!

I hope in reading this that perhaps it has given you an idea of a fairly inexpensive way that you can become a better manager. Don’t you want the people you manage doing what they do best more? Or would you rather have them performing the tasks for your customers that they are not so good at?

Please leave your comments below. I’m anxious to hear how other managers approach this type of situation.

Christopher Gould – President

Gould Design, Inc.