Using a strength-based approach to leadership involves concentrating on building one’s existing strengths, and delegating tasks one is not good at to others who are more experienced. As a leader, this approach is very useful since it doesn’t matter how good you are, there will always be areas where you are an expert, and areas where you are less than perfect. This dichotomy is demonstrated as one of the biggest challenges of being a leader in identified as attempting to be an authority in all the areas. However, in actuality, when a leader does attempt to become an expert in all areas, they risk spreading themselves much too thin, thereby becoming ineffective.
Therefore, leaders should focus on the following approaches to successful strength-based leadership
- Consensus and Delegation: When working with individuals in areas where one is moderately experienced, it is a sign of strength, not weakness. Thus, by developing a consensual leadership style, delegating and focusing on what others do best will become more effective.
- Increased engagement: Research shows that by focusing on one’s strengths and using them in their work, will increase engagement and enjoyment. Moreover, it will also enhance productivity in the job.
- Effective hiring: Strength-based leadership can be used to improve and develop a team by hiring capable individuals based on their strengths – not just because their skill sets align with the organization. This also helps in developing an extremely diverse team.
- Enhanced creativity: This approach also helps in encouraging creativity by delegating. Through this approach leaders give their team members the opportunity to be more creative and imaginative, and also show more confidence in them.
Most of the successful teams possess a wide range of strengths, including –
- Executing – it is the ability to get things done. An individual good at executing plans is adept at arranging and controlling tasks, events and people, is consistent and focused, and prepared to take responsibility of the task.
- Influencing – A good influencer can persuade others to support ideas, projects, tasks, attitudes and other organizational approaches.
- Relationship building – These individuals are able to encourage people to work together toward a common goal or vision.
- Strategic Thinking – A strategic thinker is skilled at analysing information meticulously, make connections, and thinking both ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ the box.
One good way for the leaders to adopt this approach is by taking a step back and analysing their own strengths. The most effective leaders are those who know their own strengths and weaknesses and recognise that unless they get support in specific areas, they may become ineffective. As a leader, strengths-based leaders consciously surround themselves with other leaders whose strengths compensate for their own weaknesses.