10.02

Reveling in Each Other’s Strengths

By Deborah Mersino

This post will be a slight departure from our series on marcom mistakes. Today, I’d like to share a bit of hope and reminders about what makes leaders and managers positively influential. Notice the “positively” as it’s a clear demarcation from what scores of employees are experiencing from their supervisors, as they try to impact education at nonprofits, foundations, schools, businesses, and universities.

No matter how well an organization nails its brand positioning, invests in design, grows its digital footprint through engagement and creative campaigns, funds strategies, revamps its membership model, and/or establishes cross-functional teams, the real magic of an organization is realized when employees are able to utilize their top strengths and talents the majority of the time.

Hundreds of books have been written on leadership, culture, and employee engagement. Whether you’re well aware of what makes Level-5 leaders so effective (“Good to Great“) or think yanking down cubicle walls, installing an espresso machine or raising salaries will lift spirits, I encourage you to simplify your thinking as you look to the year ahead.

Poignant Questions

  • Do you know your employees’ strengths?
  • Have you hired them with their strengths in mind?
  • Do they have the opportunity to use these strengths on a regular basis?

I’m not talking about experience or skills. I’m talking hard-wiring.

After hearing Marcus Buckingham speak more than a decade ago, I purchased, “Now Discover Your Strengths.” It was life changing. Moreover, it was energizing and illuminating to discover that Strategic, Ideation, Activator, Positivity, and Woo (Winning Others Over) were my top themes. Admittedly, discovering my DiSC profile mimicked Donald Trump’s profile (didn’t I have ANY blue?) and that I’m an ENTJ proved helpful. StrengthsFinder, though, allowed me to see “what made me me.

If you’re a leader or a manager at a nonprofit, school, university, foundation or business serving the education market, having knowledge about your own strengths and your employees’ strengths will have a greater impact on your 2014 P&L than your new financial software, spiffy new couches, or revamped 360s.

Why? Because although we can – and do – operate with some effectiveness outside of our strength areas, leaders and managers who aren’t hard-wired to be managing certain areas (even people) will likely cause their share of havoc on an organization and impede overall effectiveness.

True growth and influence comes when individuals are working in concert, utilizing their strengths, and demonstrating respect and trust for one another. Imagine that!

Take the first step today and check out StrengthsFinder and learn more about what Gallup is doing in the area of education. Your organization will thank you.

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