Strengths Based Leadership: How Can a Theory Help Your Business?

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. The question is how best to handle them in business. Because it is practically human nature to dwell on the negative, many people struggle to improve their flaws. But the concept of strengths based leadership takes a slightly different approach.

Focusing too much on weaknesses is likely to leave an employee frustrated and feeling inadequate. Instead, a strengths based leadership approach focuses on improving an employee’s strengths so they will see real professional development and improvement. This approach can have very tangible benefits for your business. This includes making it much easier to build balanced, strong and diverse teams.

strengths based leadership

What Is the Strengths Based Leadership?

Strengths based leadership is a relatively new concept that emphasizes professionals do better when they refine their strengths rather than focus on fixing weaknesses. The rationale behind this concept is the simple fact that everyone has skills or tasks they excel at as well as things they will never be that good at doing.

The theory holds that people have far more potential to grow their strengths than to fix their weaknesses. That it’s much better to align employees with their passions and their talents than to try and fix them or make them fit. To be effective, this concept must not be treated as a one-time experiment. But it need to grow into a mentality in an organization.

Who Uses Strengths Based Leadership?

Just about any manager or owner in any industry or professional field can utilize the theory of strengths based leadership. Good managers already know they must place the right people in the right positions. Having a leadership style based on improving strengths rather than fixing weaknesses simply makes it much easier for managers to identify the strengths and passions of each employee.

This way, employees receive assignments at which they will excel and the kind of professional development they need. This improves and reflects well on your department. Ultimately, strengths based leadership is what changes bosses into leaders.

Ways In Which Strengths Based Leadership Can Help Your Business

  • Strengths based leadership can help your business in any number of ways. The first and most obvious is that employees will be placed in positions which best suit them. They are then much more likely to do a good job than if little or no thought was put into assignments.
  • Managers are able to create more balanced teams and assign employees work they are more passionate about. They are going to be more productive, more innovative, more loyal to a business’s brand and much happier at work.
  • The effects of adopting a strengths based leadership model also stand to help your business. By cultivating an environment where employees are taken into account and always trying to better their strengths, businesses and managers create a work environment employees want to be a part of. This can result in healthy competition and employees who are happy in their roles. This leads to innovation, prevents dissatisfied employees and reduces costly turnover.
  • It can also make it easier for a business to recruit top talent. Recruits will be drawn to working in an environment that caters to their strengths and passions.

4 Tips to Functionally Use Strengths Based Leadership

1. Develop Your Own Strengths while Recognizing Your Weaknesses

You won’t be able to cultivate your employees’ strengths well unless you are able to do it for yourself first. Take an honest look at yourself and your work performance and make a list of your strengths and weaknesses.

Take note of what you have done to improve your strengths and fix your weaknesses. See which you’ve spent more time on. Spend less time worrying about your weaknesses and focus on improving what you are already good at.

2. Get to Know Your Employees

You are never going to have a clear picture of your employees’ strengths and weaknesses unless you get to know them. Pay close attention to their successes and failures at work, as well as discover what they are passionate about.

Spend some time meeting with them and start creating a more transparent work environment, such as implementing an open door policy. This knowledge will help you formulate unique strategies to draw out the full potential of your employees.

3. Work with Your Employees to Improve Their Strengths

So you’ve gotten to know your employees and have a better idea of what their strengths and weaknesses are. now you’re ready to reach out to them and begin working with them to focus on improving their strengths. You need to give them a rundown of what you’re trying to do so they can work with you to generate results.

Some ideas for how to help an employee improve his or her strengths include:

  • Investing in additional training or education for them;
  • Suggesting reading on the subject;
  • Assigning them to projects they better suit for.

4. Work to Minimize the Effects Of Weaknesses

Just ignoring an employee’s weaknesses won’t make them go away. The goal of strengths based leadership is simply to nullify the negative effects of a weakness. Some things you can do to encourage this include:

  • Moving an employee to a different project or department where their weakness won’t be as much of a problem;
  • Assigning them to a team where others will make up for their weaknesses;
  • Offering plans or suggestions to minimize particularly problematic but common weaknesses, such as time management.

business people

You’ve Got the Power!

Strengths based leadership is a theory that receives support from significant research – particularly from Gallup, which has collected fifty years’ worth of data on the subject. Companies that adopt the strengths based leadership approach have shown marked improvement. This influenced mostly their productivity, their innovation and their employees’ happiness.

If you or your business have not tried this approach, it is definitely worth integrating into your organization. Have you tried a strengths based leadership model at your business? What have been your experiences with it and has it worked? Feel free to leave your comments below.

The images are from