In our work place, we have started a book club around Dave Ramsey’s book “EntreLeadership.” A small tribe of my friends from work gather over lunch to learn Dave’s lessons on business and leadership. One awesome recipe from this book shares how you build personal and organizational momentum.
- Have focus
- Have intensity
- Have persistence
- Ask God to amplify and guide your efforts
My mind is challenged and blown away by this simple idea. What do you focus on? My friend Scott shared a profound and practical book with me called “Strengths Finder 2.0” by Tom Rath (Thanks Scott!) It argues that leaders and teachers who want to leave a positive impact should always look for ways to foster and grow natural strengths while minimizing weaknesses. By doing this, it becomes possible to create strategic plans and guides that are energizing. According to data from Gallup, if a leader primarily focuses on an employee’s strengths, the probability that the team member will be engaged is 99%.
What leader or teacher doesn’t want engagement from their team members or students?
The post “Seven reasons to lead with strengths” by Gallup.com, outlines additional results you may consider reviewing.
What’s special about the book is that you get access to Gallup’s strength inventory tool. This online survey helps you discover your top 5 strength areas. It should be noted that Gallup is VERY data oriented. You can be assured that these strength recommendations are trustworthy. My top 5 include the following: Belief, Learner, Connectedness, Responsibility, and Self- Assurance. I’m not sharing this data with you because I want to brag. I’m sharing my story because I hope you decide to discover your own strength areas too.
The strengths inventory tool concludes by giving you 50 actionable steps to help foster your strengths. I immediately picked out the top “20%” from this list and plan to focus on one point every month.
- Help others see a bigger picture: “The meaning and purpose of your work will often provide direction for others. Remind people why their work is important and how it makes a difference in their lives and in the lives of others.”
- Foster friendships with like minded people: “Actively cultivate friends who share your basic values. Consider your best friend. Does this person share your value system?”
- Schedule learning time: “Time disappears and your attention intensifies when you are immersed in studying or learning. Allow yourself to ‘follow the trail’ by scheduling learning sessions during periods of time that will not be interrupted by pressing engagements.”
- Set goals for learning: “Develop ways to track the progress of your learning. If there are distinct levels or stages of learning within a discipline or skill, take a moment to celebrate your progression from one level to the next. If no such levels exist, create them for yourself (e.g., reading five books on the subject or making three presentations on the subject).”
- Connect organizations: “You are aware of the boundaries and borders created within organizations and communities, but you treat these as seamless and fluid. Use your Connectedness talents to break down silos that prevent shared knowledge.”
- Partner with a communicator: “Partner with someone with strong Communication talents. This person can help you with the words you need to describe vivid examples of connection in the real world.”
- Delegate and foster leadership in others: “You naturally take ownership of every project you are involved in. Make sure that your capacity to own does not keep you from sharing responsibility. Allow others the opportunity to experience the challenges of ownership. In doing so, you will contribute to their growth and development.”
- Say no more: “Push yourself to say no. Because you are instinctively responsible, it might sometimes be difficult to refuse opportunities. For this reason, you must be selective. Ask for more responsibility in only the areas that matter most to you.”
- Seek out strategic and deliberative people: “Partner with someone with strong Strategic, Deliberative, or Futuristic talents. This person can help you assess the goals to which you commit. You need this help because once you set your sights on a goal, you are likely to stay with it until you achieve it.”
- “Start with dream. end in goal” — Dave Ramsey : “Set ambitious goals. Don’t hesitate to reach for what others see as impractical and impossible, but what you see as merely bold and exciting — and most importantly — achievable with some heroics and a little luck. Your Self-Assurance talents can lead to achievements that you may not have otherwise even”
Check out our post on appreciative inquiry that builds upon this idea of strength building for families, teams and organizations.
Let’s keep the conversation going! What tools do you use to foster strengths and passions of your team members or students?
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Photo is attributed to http://frank.itlab.us/photo_essays/wrapper.php?feb_25_2011_dancer.html (Amazing photography!)