Sunday, September 28, 2014

Book Review: Strengths-Based Leadership

Strengths-Based LeadershipStrengths-Based Leadership by Tom Rath

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Building off of the others in this series, this book is really helpful when working with groups. There is little in my consulting practice which is as much fun as assigning a group of work colleagues to each take the Strengthsfinder 2.0 test online and then share their printouts with each other.  As each person in the room tells what they learned about each of their top signature themes of talent, you can almost see lightbulbs coming on.  People grow in their understanding not only of themselves, but of each other.  And that is a beautiful thing.

Stengths-Based Leadership is especially fun, not just because it provides tips and strategies for leading with the various strengths (or leading others with the various strengths) but because it sorts the 34 by-now familiar themes into four categories: Implementing, Strategic Thinking, Relationship-Building, and Influencing.  The authors teach us that individuals do not need to be well-rounded - but groups do.  I like to plot group members' strengths on a grid and then look at it when everyone is finished.  It helps to see how the team can make the most of each person's unique contributions to the group, and sometimes to see what kinds of strengths to look for in new teammates.

It turns out that my own strengths are stacked up in Strategic Thinking, with little in Relationship Building and nothing in Influencing.  That is all well and good, until I desire to influence others.  That's when I need a partner with a healthy dose of Woo, or at least Communication or Self-Assurance.  The truth is that it is very helpful to know this.

These guys could put out a new book every year as far as I am concerned.  Keep the learning coming fellas!  The applications of the strengths knowledge must be endless!

Wanna see a two-page summary? You can download it for free here!

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