Leadership based on strengths and qualities: what is it and why does it work?

Jon is not good at climbing trees, but he is very good at running. If he were faced with a deluge or a flood that suddenly surprised him, what do you think he would do? Climb a tree or run away? The answer is obvious.

Throughout our lives, we can learn many things, improve our weaknesses, perfect them… but in times of emergency, stress or maximum need, it is natural that we turn to our strengths. Or, in the words of actor and singer Eddie Constantine:

“No matter how many languages ​​you speak, when you cut yourself while shaving, you always use your native language.”

Why not know in depth what your strengths and qualities are to make the most of them?

The importance of strengths-based leadership

Leadership based on the strengths or qualities of a leader is based on the premise that, no matter how much we learn to improve some capabilities, the truth is that the strengths (what we are really good at) are what we rely on in our lives. daily and, above all, when we have problems.

This leadership model empowers people, improves efficiency and effectiveness, and contributes to well-being at both the individual and organizational levels. By focusing on what people do best and cultivating those strengths and qualities, you create an environment conducive to growth and sustainable success. Not only that, it provides security to the person, because they know that they are good at it.

A transformative change of approach

This is a powerful and transformative approach in the world of leadership and management. If weaknesses have traditionally been identified and corrected, this model proposes recognizing and taking advantage of the positive qualities and inherent capabilities of individuals and teams.

Leadership capacity is a highly sought-after and desired skill in the world of work. But today the leader is especially exposed to being see the seams. The order and command style, already very outdated, has been replaced by the more “diplomatic” one of the areas of improvement.

With this change of focus towards leadership based on the strengths or qualities of a leader, one more step is necessary. Developing from what stands out demands another style, another way of being. You are a leader for something, with a mission. To improve, to grow.

Reach your full potential

Leadership based on the strengths and qualities of a leader is based on the premise that people can reach their maximum potential when we focus on developing and applying our natural strengths. Instead of investing time and energy trying to overcome weaknesses, this approach encourages leaders to identify what they do best and use those skills to achieve exceptional performance.

We no longer need to use our appreciation or evaluations of the team as a gift that we give them, so that they improve. Now we can simply enjoy the satisfaction of witnessing the progress of our collaborators. There are studies that affirm that subordinates’ task performance improves when the leader focuses on the strengths of his workers.

This paradigm shift not only fosters greater employee engagement and satisfaction, but also drives organizational growth and success. It puts the person and their abilities at the center, identifying what their strengths are when carrying out a task, managing a group of workers or giving a presentation.

Where does this model come from?

Leadership based on a leader’s strengths and qualities derives from various disciplines, including positive psychology and talent management. Scientific advances in recent years have made it clear that focusing on the positive and developing individual strengths can be a more effective strategy for leadership and personal growth. This approach has evolved over time and has been adopted by leading organizations around the world from different sectors.

Our individual strengths are the key to achieving success and satisfaction both professionally and personally. This formula has been promoted by influential authors and organizations that have demonstrated its transformative power.

Authors such as Donald O. Clifton, Martin Seligman and the Gallup company have been betting on this model for some time. All are advocates of identifying and cultivating individual strengths as a foundation for effective leadership and personal development.

The present of Socrates

Socrates’ phrase “Know thyself”, unintentionally, has become a fundamental principle in leadership based on the strengths and qualities of the leader. He recognizes that self-awareness is essential to leading authentically, leveraging individual strengths and qualities, and working effectively with others. And it makes perfect sense. Would you lean on your weaknesses for something?

For self-help bestseller Stephen R. Covey, “effective leadership is putting first things first. It is focusing on your strengths and those of others to achieve a common purpose. Knowing yourself is the first step toward that goal.”

Knowing yourself is the starting point for growth and improvement. The expert Marcus Buckingham emphasizes the same when he states:

“Effective leadership begins with self-knowledge. Understanding your own strengths and weaknesses allows you to lead with authenticity and focus on what you do best.”

Self-knowledge, key to strengths-based leadership

“Know thyself” is a call to reflection and introspection. Invites people to explore their thoughts, emotions, values, beliefs and motivations. Through this process, one can discover who they really are, rather than settling for a superficial image of themselves. We can free ourselves from stereotypes or clichés that lead to misunderstandings.

From that knowledge, we can rely on what we know works for us, what is good, what we are recognized for. And from those strengths and qualities of the leader, from the development and deepening of it, from the trust and personal security that they provide us, we will grow personally and professionally. Knowing ourselves is the key to bringing out the best in ourselves and others.

We can conclude by indicating that Socrates, in addition to being topical, was right. If you don’t know yourself, how do you expect to lead others?

This article is part of a collaboration with Becas Santander, a global initiative that offers free scholarships, programs and content for adults of any age. More information at https://www.becas-santander.com.

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