Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Strengths Finding

After reading Strengths Finder 2.0 and discovering my strengths (and telling everyone I meet to do the same, thanks to my Communicator and Developer strengths), I picked up the second book, Strengths Based Leadership. I found it worth a read, but certainly not as insightful as the first book.

StrengthsFinder 2.0 requires you take a quick online test and then gives you 5 strengths and a guide on how to capitalize on them by picking appropriate jobs, and telling you what kind of situations you excel in. Strengths Based Leadership goes further to outline how best to lead given your strengths. The basic idea that we all have natural strengths and we should focus on capitalizing them rather than trying to develop our weaknesses and become "well rounded," carries through both books. The second book makes the further point that "leadership" is often viewed as a strength and we all tend to have the idea in our heads about what specific strengths a good leader must posses. But this is framework is flawed-- anyone that tries to be a completely "well rounded" leader will fail. There are many kinds of effective leaders, and the best ones will focus on using their strengths rather than trying to be good at everything. I buy it and would like to do a better job of living by it. And, It's interesting since we're all brought up focusing on trying to become better at things we aren't naturally good at, rather than allowed more time to focus on the skills and strengths that come naturally.

I like these books a lot, and maybe more since I found after taking these tests that the insights tended to be true. Here's how they peg me, which seems to be pretty true.
  1. Activator: People with a strong Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They are often impatient.
  2. Developer: People strong in the Developer theme recognize and cultivate the potential in others. They spot the signs of each small improvement and derive satisfaction from these improvements.
  3. Individualization: People strong in the Individualization theme are intrigued with the unique qualities of each person. They have a gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together productively.
  4. Communication: People strong in the Communication theme generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words. They are good conversationalists and presenters (um, maybe not so much the latter).
  5. Positivity: People strong in the Positivity theme have an enthusiasm that is contagious. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they're going to do.
And with that, you should all go buy StrengthsFinder 2.0 make a list of all the things you can do to put your strengths to use, and live happily ever after! Stay Strong.

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