Three reasons you should be a Strength-Based Leader

Great leaders understand the value of being strength-based. A strength-based leader is someone who has found, continues to develop, and consistently works in areas of personal strengths. Below are three reason why you should be a strength-based leader:

1. You’re strongest in your strengths-

Leaders are the strongest and most effective when working in areas of personal strengths. This brings up the question about what we should do with our weaknesses. Donald Clifton defines a weakness as “anything that gets in the way of excellent performance.” Areas of weakness should be avoided or delegated so they don’t cause you to be ineffective. Being strength-based allows you to make the best use of your skills and abilities. It positions you to excel toward your personal and leadership potential.

2. You see maximum return on investments-

Strength-based leader’s see a multiplying return on their time, energy, and effort. A significant reason you should work in your strengths is that you will see an increase of productivity and produce higher level of quality results. This is essential to your leadership because a responsibility you have is to create change and deliver results by influencing people toward a better future. Being in your strength zones is a perquisite to seeing maximum results on your investments.

3. You acquire the rewards-

Those who are competent strength-based leaders are greatly rewarded. They key factor is to stay in your strengths until you become a competent expert in your niche or industry. This allows you to produce both inward and outward rewards. Inward rewards can include feelings of significance, fulfillment, and accomplishment. Outward rewards might include financial gain, work perks, increase of influence, and achieving your wildest dreams. These rewards come when you find, develop, and consistently work in your areas of strengths.

Questions: What benefits have you seen from being strength-based? Can you add to the list? What are some other reasons a leader should be strength-based?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Working in & developing my strenghts has brought tremendous satisfaction & fulfillment. Yet, learning to develop weak areas has brought the same results but for different reasons. As I learn to depend on others in my weak areas, I become a stronger person overall, stronger than only developing strengths. Would love a post on the role weaknesses play in overall development as a person.

    • Kari, I agree with you about the weaknesses. For me I found that what I thought was a weakness, and maybe it was at the time, turned into one of my greatest strengths. I think that we should be too quick to write something off as a weakness and assume that means we will never be able to work in that area.

      • As we ride the waves of our strengths, we find confidence to strengthen our weaknesses too. And, if you bring God into the mix, weaknesses are where I want to be!

    • Hello Kari,

      That’s great to hear, great things happen when we focus on our strengths. Allowing others to help us in areas of weakness is so important. I’m learning to do the same thing. Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.

      I’ll have to write that potential future post done.

  • I think many of the best leaders we know both professionally and personally use this mentality without even realizing it. I would never have thought of myself as a strength-based leader, but in retrospect, I definitely focus on what I’m good at and delegate those tasks which fall under my weaknesses.

    I wonder if that’s the best way to do it though, as I’ve always felt that I should spend at least a little time working on making my weaknesses just a little less…weak.

    • Hello Ryan,

      I think we naturally are moved toward areas of strengths. The key is to stay in those areas.

      I’ve read several books on the topic of strengths and all the studies and experts have found working in or trying to become better in a weakness is not effective. Have you read any Marcus Buckingham, Tom Rath, or Donald Clifton books?

      • I have not, though I have heard of the concept before. If I’m not mistaken, the premise is that it takes a lot of effort to make any significant progress in our weaknesses, correct? The research suggests that is true, but I wonder if building up even some of your weakness could be useful. I think of the case where even having a basic understanding of a topic or concept gives really strong benefits. I’m thinking of myself in the case of having a very weak understanding of statistics. Building a basic understanding would allow me to better converse with people I would work with and lead without requiring years of study.
        I’m sure I’m missing some of the major points here, having not read the books, so it’s really only opinion on my part.

        • That’s one of the things they teach. Also about not being as effective or productive when working in areas of weakness.

          I’ve been thinking about the same thing lately. Something like communication is a skill any one would benefit from growing and becoming better within though it’s not everyone’s strength. Thank you for discussing this topic.

  • I think strength-based leadership is somewhat natural. I also like the idea of learning how to turn our weaknesses into strengths.

    • Dan, in the book, Mark Buckingham says that focusing on improving your weaknesses will never lead to success, that it is just “damage control.” What do you think about that?

      • I disagree. I don’t think we should focus solely on our weaknesses, but there have been thousands of people throughout history who have turned weaknesses into strengths.

  • This really goes beyond merely operating within our comfort level. There is a sense of courage and confidence that allows strength-based leaders to really excel. It’s like finding that thing that you just know you were meant to do. You just know you’re going to succeed.

    • Great points, Charles! Great things happen when we focus on our areas of strengths! Thank you for adding to the conversation.

    • Totally agree, Charles… I know when I work within my strengths, I am more confident and success generally follows!

  • Another reason to focus on your strengths is because in the long run you will be able to effectively help more people that way. I have been greatly helped by people in the past who have chosen to focus on their strengths, if they had instead got bogged down by their weaknesses there would be no way that they could have been so influential and helpful.

    • That’s a huge reason why we should be strength-based. We are better able to help and add value to people when we focus and work in our areas of strengthens. Thank you for adding your thoughts to this topic. I enjoyed your comment.

  • I’ve found that often the real strengths are the ones that seem to be just the opposite. One of the real strengths is to be able to remove oneself from the day to day grind and step back to be able to see the forest… Sometimes less is more… a hard concept for most of us. Thanks for the thought provoking post, Dan.

    • Ya, that is a hard concept for most of us, especially leaders who tend to take action:) Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • Working in my strengths have actually help me improve on some of what I thought were debilitating weaknesses.

    • Bernard, thank you for being open with your comment. I felt the same way after taking my strengths finder test. Where I thought I over-analyzed, I was actually using my analytical theme.

    • That’s great! It’s important to find and clarify our strengths. Thank you for sharing.

  • Love this. Each of our strengths have “basements and balconies,” according to StrengthsFinder. When we manage to lead from the balconies, we find greater success; becoming aware of the basements makes us more compassionate and effective.

    • Thank you for adding to the post! Great thoughts.

  • I think knowing our weaknesses and being able to delegate that out is so important for any company or organization. We can’t be experts in everything. Sadly some fear letting others know that or they refuse to let go of control so they try to do what someone else could do better.

    Allowing others to thrive in their areas of strength shows mature leadership.

    • It really takes humility to share and allow others to help us in our areas of weakness. Which can be difficult for some people/leaders. Love your last sentence statement, so true!!! Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.

  • Just about a month and a half ago, I had a similar thought Dan. I wrote a blog post called, “Should Businesses Treat Their Employees Like Professional Athletes?” The first point that I made was that professional teams place people according to their strengths. You don’t put Michael Jordan as a wide receiver. Just because you’re good at one thing, doesn’t mean your going to be good at other, even similar, things.

    As a leader, we need to be strengths-based and strengths-focused in order to maximize the effectiveness of our team. If you don’t know your team’s strengths, you might end up empowering RGIII to be a fantastic secretary.

  • I’ve seen people really excel once they’ve started to work in their strengths zones. You see a confidence that wasn’t there before.

    • Me too:) Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • I’ve read somewhere that we should really be focusing only on our strengths and not our weaknesses. Its what God gave us the ability to do, and we should continue to work on them. If a weakness is a weakness why keep working on it. Our strengths are there for a reason and that is for us to perfect them and be the best at them. We must be fruitful with our strengths because others see our talents and they know when we are using them effectively.

    • Hey Lincoln,

      Great points, it’s about being stewards of the gifts and talents God has given us. Which happens when we focus and work in our ares of strengths. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

  • It requires you to have the mindset of not slipping into a mode of highlighting your weaknesses. I can see benefits to highlighting weaknesses from the position of detachment. Experts have been shown to work more on their weaknesses than amateurs and so spend more time practicing.

    From a leader perspective I can see the value in highlighting and utilising strengths in others within your team. Playing to your strengths can have a lot of advantages especially if you just want to get the job done, rather than nurturing the skill.

    Thanks
    Aaron
    The Confidence Lounge

    • Great thoughts, Aaron. It’s important to find people on our team who complement our areas of weaknesses. We should not be well rounded but we should have a well-rounded team (People who are strong in our ares of weakness). Thank you for adding to the discussion. I appreciate it.

  • When you work in your strengths, you are more likely to take risks and view failure differently. Even though you may fail, you remain confident in your core skill sets and view failure as a learning experience.

    • Great points about failing while in areas of strengths. Thank you for adding that great point!

  • Hi Dan,

    This was wonderful post on the topic of strength-based leadership. Your post got me thinking about something. I think it’s always a good thing to work on our own weaknesses and improve. However, when we want to lead productively and efficiently, it just makes so much sense to do as you say and delegate activities we’re not so good at, while focusing on our strengths.

    Thank you.

    • Hello Hiten,

      I think most of our time and energy should be focused on areas of strengths while a vary little should be focused on areas of weakness. This included areas of improvement, we should make areas of strengths stronger because we will never become great or sufficient in areas of weakness. Thank you for adding to the discussion. It’s always great to hear from you.

  • Sue Neal

    This post highlights, for me, the importance of self-awareness – we’re not always sufficiently aware of our strengths. There can be a dangerous tendency for us to focus on our weaknesses, which can make us feel anxious, inadequate and insecure. While it’s important for us to be aware of our weak points, including those things that it really makes more sense for us to delegate or out-source to others, it’s crucial that we capitalise and build on our talents.

    • Hello Sue,

      Yes, being self-aware is so essential (for several reasons). Taking time to look inward is important when it comes to finding areas of strengths and those areas of weakness we should avoid. Thank you for adding to the topic.

  • Hi Dan, I spent years trying to “fix” areas I was weaker in. That means you are not playing to your strengths and I learned along the way that is not smart. As Sue Neal said we need self-awareness to know the difference. I think our business is much better off when we are doing what we are good at and not wasting time trying to fix areas we are not so hot at.

    Great message Dan.

    Sue

    • Hello Sue,

      At least you figured out that it does not work. I’ve seen many people waist decades trying to “fix” or improve areas of weakness while never becoming fully competent in areas of strengths. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

    • Sue,

      It’s like the serenity prayer:

      “Lord,

      Give me the strength to accept to the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”

      If we accept we have weaknesses then we can also accept we have strengths and the wisdom to make changes in certain areas of our life.

  • I have gotten a lot more traction in recent years giving up on things I’m not good at and focusing on what I do well….I’m fortunate to have a team at work that makes up for what I lack, couldn’t do my job without them.

    • That’s great you have a team around you who are strong in your areas of weakness. Thank you for reading and adding to the conversation. It’s always great to hear your thoughts.

    • Well said Tom. I’m in the same boat as you. If I didn’t have awesome people surround me at work I would be stuck working on my weaknesses. Not a good strategy for anyone. This is something our nations education system can take note of.

      • Yea – don’t get me started on the education system!

  • Dan, thanks for sharing this. Yes, working on our strengths has always proven right for me. The more time I do things that I’m good at, the more success I find. The idea is to come to terms to figuring out your strengths and continue to master them. Everything else can be done by a team of your colleagues or others who have a strength in something else. When we each do our strength, we shine collectively.

    As someone mentioned below, it’s hard sometimes for us to want to give up something we’re not good at but for everyone’s benefit and success, if we can pull back and give up doing certain doing tasks which aren’t our strength, we’ll find more success.

    • Hello Vishnu,

      Success comes to those who focus on their strengths. Yes, the key is to be willing to let go and delegate areas of weakness. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic.

  • Excellent message Dan. By focusing on our strengths we hone in on what we can give in return to not only ourselves but the people who surround us. If we were a weakness based leader then we would be the people who teach what they do not know. A common theme in the online world.

    • Thank you Nate:) Great thoughts, thank it’s always great to hear your thoughts.

  • Hazel Moon

    Areas of weakness should be avoided or delegated was a great point. Why not delegate where someone else can do a better job because that portion is a weak point with you. Great leaders have followers! I think I am a bit of both!

    • Great statement, “Great leaders have followers.” Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  • I find it interesting when people say that weakness should be avoided or delegated. It’s a good point, but what if you could build on that weakness and turn it into a strength? Wouldn’t that be a better solution?

    I know it’s not possible all the time and we should focus on our strengths as much as possible. After all, they are what we are best at. But if we can actually strengthen a weakness, why not?

    • Hello Steve,

      If someone knew 100 percent that they could turn a weakness into a strength that would be fine. Some people are self-aware enough to know while most people waist a lot of time and effort trying to improve an area they can never become great or the best at. They key is to be self-aware and honest with our self and personal abilities. My though it why not just improve on our strengths where we see a higher return and know we can become great within.

      Thanks for adding to the discussion.

  • Hi Dan,

    I agree, we are strongest in our personal strengths. I’ve been working on enhancing my strengths, and surprisingly it’s started to pay off since few months ago. Yet I’m barely new to what I do online.

    Mind you, I was having hard time fulfilling my weaker spots by focusing too much on ’em. Plus, it got me out of my primary goals.

    There you have a point on avoiding. Even we avoid weaknesses, I learnt that it’s way more easier to grasp what we thought we were bad at, once we come to the point where our strengths link to a weakness. There’s a totally positive perception and didn’t cost me too much time compared to the time I spent on figuring out ’em individually / separately.

    Success doesn’t happen overnight, but it does when we follow our strengths and overcome weaknesses in that process, isn’t it Dan?

    BTW nice image up there 😉

    Cheers…

    • Hello Mayura,

      That’s great to hear. Working in areas of strengths always pays off. Your on your way to greater and greater levels of results. Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion. I always enjoy reading your comments.

  • Rainer Proksch

    Great post Dan! A strength based leader has the benefit of people returning to him always. He will always be considered as the role model by others. Such a leader will always have the strength to cope with any situation, which may attract people towards him.

    • Hello Rainer,

      That’s totally true! It allows us to increase the influence we have with those around us. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.