How to Leverage Your Strengths for Peak PerformanceWritten by Dr. Robert Karlsberg and Dr. Jane Adler
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Colleagues, family members and friends can also serve as resources for helping you determine your strengths. In January 2005 issue of Harvard Business Review, management professors Laura Roberts and Gretchen Spreitzer and their colleagues propose a Reflected Best Self Exercise, in which you actively solicit feedback from those who know you well. Critical to this exercise, however, is that feedback focus on describing specific areas where you have excelled – not on areas where you could use more work. Match Your Strengths to Your Tasks Once you know your strengths, you need to figure out how best to use them. It used to be that organizations managed careers of their people, but today that obligation belongs to each one of us. You have responsibility to know yourself and determine where and how you would perform best. Often difference between success and failure is not learning additional skills but rather figuring out how, given your strengths, you can adjust yourself to demands of your specific position. This is particularly important when nature of your job changes. Jack was a star sales manager for an educational products company. His ability to form strong connections with his team and develop his people resulted in lower turnover and significantly increased sales. Jack also worked well with his colleagues, leading brainstorming sessions that resulted in a new integrated product and service offering – with significant profit margins for company. Jack’s abilities both in office and in field caught attention of company executives who saw him as a natural leader. When opportunity came for significant career advancement, Jack jumped at it. Jack had advantage of following in footsteps of Ellen, an admired veteran. Unlike Jack, Ellen had risen through ranks of finance. She spent three weeks helping Jack transition into new position before leaving to head operations in Europe. Yet a few months into his new job as regional manager, Jack found himself becoming more and more frustrated with his work. He productivity was down and his former sense of eagerness to get to work each morning had disappeared. As we worked with Jack, we began to see that his strengths were largely interpersonal and creative. He shone as he worked with his team, made presentations and coached his direct reports. But most of his work now involved written reports, formal strategy sessions and routine management tasks that had little to do with Jack’s greatest competencies. After pinpointing his strengths, Jack began work of redesigning his job so that it fit better with his abilities. He began to spend more time in field, visiting customers and prospects to gain a first-hand understanding of their needs. He used his natural team-building and creative abilities in meetings that brought together representatives of sales and product design departments to brainstorm ways of better serving customer needs. He found an assistant who excelled at writing reports and organizing data and began delegating these tasks as much as possible. With this new focus on his areas of greatest competency, Jack felt a renewed satisfaction in his work. His productivity and performance improved greatly. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and while there will be many who encourage you to work on your deficiencies, key to high performance is to look for what you do uncommonly well and focus there. Armed with this self-knowledge, you will better be able to determine how you can best contribute -- both now and in next phase of your career. Your greatest successes will come from placing yourself in a position where your strengths can meet opportunities for their regular expression. And, as maximizing your strength becomes a habit, you’ll be in a better position to help those around you maximize their abilities, leading to greater productivity and satisfaction for you, your team and your organization. © 2005 Dr. Robert Karlsberg & Dr. Jane Adler
Dr. Robert Karlsberg and Dr. Jane Adler are senior leadership consultants and founders of Strategic Leadership LLC. They work with senior executives to maximize performance, facilitate transitions and accelerate major change initiatives. Contact them at 301-530-5611 or visit http://www.PsychologyofPerformance.com
The ‘Leader's Fallacy' May Prove Howard Dean's Undoing.Written by Brent Filson
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There's a simple, powerful antidote for Leader's Fallacy. I've been teaching it to leaders of all ranks and functions worldwide. It's Leadership Talk. Many leaders fall into clutches of Leader's Fallacy when they give speeches and presentations. Speeches and presentations simply communicate information. There's another, far more effective means of leadership communication. That's Leadership Talk. Unlike speeches and presentations, Leadership Talk helps leader forge deep, human, emotional connections with audiences. Establishing such connections with grassroots voters is absolutely necessary for Democrats' success.
To give a Leadership Talk, leaders must first answer "yes" to three simple questions: "Do you know what audience needs?" "Can you transfer your deep believe to others so they believe as strongly as you do about challenges you face?" And, "Can you have that audience take ardent action that gets results?" If a leader says "no" to any one of those questions, he/she can't give a Leadership Talk.
If Dean and Democrats want to reverse Republican tide and reach voters' hearts and minds in America's heartland, they must trash their speeches and presentations and start giving Leadership Talks. They must have Leadership Talk be a cornerstone of DNC communication strategy. They must get thousands of Democratic cause leaders out in hinterland constantly giving Leadership Talks. Otherwise, they'll be victims of Leader's Fallacy -- confused about how come they personally are so pumped up, so motivated on one hand and yet are failing so miserably on other.
2005 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He has been helping leaders of top companies worldwide get audacious results. Sign up for his free leadership e-zine and get a free white paper: "49 Ways To Turn Action Into Results," at www.actionleadership.com