One Irrefutable way to Increase your Leadership Productivity and Effectiveness

All of the leaders I talk with want to lead at maximum performance. They desire to be more productive at work and to increase in leadership effectiveness. I want to share with you one principle which will allow you to increase your productivity and effectiveness. While this is not a secret, in my observation it’s something leaders often overlook. The principle is:

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To be and stay strength-based while delegating or avoiding areas of weakness.

In Beyond Talent, John Maxwell shares a story which illustrates why being a strength-based leader is so essential. He says,

“Focusing on weaknesses instead of strengths is like having a handful of coins – a few made of pure gold and the rest of tarnished copper – and setting aside the gold coins to spend all your time cleaning and shining the copper ones in the hopes of making them look more valuable. No matter how long you spend on them, they will never be worth what the gold ones are. Go with your greatest assets; don’t waste your time.”

To see what embodies a strength-based leader, let’s look at two definitions. In The Leadership Mandate I wrote, “Your strength zones are the areas that come easily to you, cause you to be efficient, and allow you to produce high levels of results when working in them.”

Gallup.com which researched and studied the topic of strengths said this, “A strength is the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance in a specific activity.”

These two definitions reveal why being a strength-based leader is so essential and beneficial. This is one of the main reasons why I write on the topic of strengths. In fact, it’s the topic of the book I’m currently working on (which should come out this summer).

Becoming strength-based requires being intentional about discovering, developing, and consistently working in your dominate areas of strength. I can guarantee when you do you will increase your productivity and effectiveness. Strive to be a strength-based leader. I wrote a series about the three step process to unleashing your strengths. Below are those posts:

The Three Step Formula to Unleashing your Strengths (Step 1 – Discovering)

The Three Step Formula to Unleashing your Strengths (Step 2 – Developing)

The Three Step Formula to Unleashing your Strengths (Step 3 – Deliberately Implementing)

Questions: How intentional are you about being and remaining strength-based? What are the benefits you have seen when working in your personal strengths?

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

  • http://LeadershipDoneRight.com/ Brandon Jones

    Great topic, Dan. Why waste time on weaknesses when they won’t get you noticed? By spending time on your strengths, you allow your abilities to shine through so they get noticed. It’s something I’ve thought about, but I know I can do a better job and I am grateful for your post.

    I have a co-worker who is extremely talented with the analytics side of things. He really focused on that, and as a result, was promoted. Only good things can happen when you focus on your strengths. Thanks again Dan!

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. It’s something all leaders need to focus on, our strengths. What a great example, thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

    I try to learn more and practice my strengths every year. I find that it adds that much more to my ability.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      learning and practicing our strengths allows them to be and stay sharp. I like that, “learning opportunities.” Thank you for adding your wisdom to the topic.

  • http://www.trailreflections.com/ Chris Peek

    Dan, I agree with you. I have a hard time delegating, so sometimes I spend too much time doing things that are not necessarily strengths, but things that have to get done. Nonetheless, I make sure to carve out time to focus on my strengths and spend time creating in areas that I am passionate about.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      At least you recognize that, now you can take steps to move more into your areas of strengths while delegating weaknesses. Thank you for sharing .

  • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

    Not sure if I’m actually intentional about being and remaining strength-based. Actually, I prefer working in my strengths to the neglect of other areas that need taken care of, that are also important. For example, I don’t enjoy the technical side of blogging. I am capable, but it does not come easily like writing does. So, I avoid it and neglect it. I guess it’s in the in-between area, not really a strength but not exactly a weakness either. How would you address the abilities in that in-between area?
    Working in my personal strengths is fulfilling and productive. It’s where I feel like I’m doing what God called me to do. So, I get and agree with what you’re saying about being focused on strengths. I’m just struggling with those other areas that need done too and that can’t always be delegated, if for no other reason that it’s just me in this writing “business” right now, and the people who can help are too busy with their jobs (oldest son has school and husband works).
    One more though, and I had no idea I would write this much when I started, but I would love to find someone I could exchange the technical aspect of blogging with for, say, editing their writing or something.
    Would love your input. Am struggling with this strengths-based idea to some extent.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Hello Kari,

      I hear what you are saying, I deal with similar issues. I love writing but have a hard time with the technical stuff. Personally, a few years ago I connected with a person who has high tech skills and we have helped each other. But, this has been difficult because I don’t always want to keep asking him to help me because I value our friendship to much.

      I’ve been looking for someone who is high in tech skills were we can exchange services. I think your idea about doing the same thing is great! Look into your network of people you know and begin to ask:) That’s what I’m doing. When I’m able I plan on hiring someone who can do the tech stuff, but I’m not financially able to right now. So either finding someone to exchange services or hiring somone to work in weak areas is good. Let me know what happens:)

      • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

        For me, I can do a lot of it, but I just don’t enjoy it, so I put it off. It frustrates me because it doesn’t come as easily as the creative stuff. My oldest son has done some of the technical stuff, but he’s pretty busy with school and sports these days. He does it when he has time, which isn’t a lot that days. I need to plan my changes around his availability like on spring & summer breaks and just do it when he’s not available. I do pay him to do it, but he just doesn’t always have the time when I need it done. Someday, like you, I want to officially pay a service to do all of that though.

        • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

          Planning your changes around his schedule is a great idea, maybe even setting aside a day/time every week were he can work on what you need help with would be good. Until we are able to pay someone, we have to figure out if it’s something we need to do or something we should not do/or wait for a later time to do (Example: I wanted to resign my site but will have to wait I can pay for it).

          • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

            My son and I did a site revamp of sorts not too long ago, and I’m happy with it. It’s stuff like figuring out why my Windows aps won’t work on my Windows devices and more extra techy stuff that gets (and frustrates) me. We’ll. Get there, Dan. Small steps. Never give up.

            • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

              I hear you:) Great point!

  • kentsanders

    Thanks Dan. I struggle with this very thing quite a bit with my blog, podcast, eBooks, and related things. How do you build a successful platform or audience when many of the things required (web design, book formatting, things like that) are tasks you don’t enjoy doing, and are tedious … and you aren’t able to hire someone to do these yet? I think this is a sticking point for many people who write or do podcasting. There are so many technical, mind-numbing details that it’s a big hurdle. At least that’s how I feel sometimes. :)

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      I totally hear you Kent. I know it can be frustrating, I’ve had to do most of my tech stuff (weakness) on my own. I’m not able to avoid some of the tech stuff because it has to get done but other things, like revamping/redesigning my site, which I’ve wanted to do for a while, I just don’t do because it would take to much time. I’m also not able to yet hire someone to do the tech. stuff.

      Right now, I’m keeping my eyes open for someone with high tech skills who I can exchange services with. They help me with the tech. stuff and I provide leadership coaching. It might be something worth thinking about and doing yourself.

      • kentsanders

        That’s a great idea, Dan. I have tried bartering with others before and they weren’t open to it. Maybe time to think about it again.

        • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

          I recommend doing trying again:) Even now that you have a product.

  • http://theregoi.com/ floyd

    Good one, Dan. In the beginning when you have to wear all the hats, it’s difficult, because you have to be good enough, even in your weak areas to succeed. It is once you get traction and can delegate the areas that aren’t our strong points that we can begin to see the graph of success take a turn toward the top of the page.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      I totally agree, glad you are able to focus on your strengths. Than you for taking the time to read and comment.

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    Great post Dan, working from our strengths helps us get things accomplished!

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Thank you Kimanzi:) It sure does.

  • http://zechariahnewman.com/ Zechariah Newman

    Loved at Dan. I am a big believer in strength based leadership. We are gifted for a reason, we need to stop trying to change that.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Amen, thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

    There are certain things that come easy to me about writing…but marketing my book isn’t one of them. But I’m learning :)

    Certainly much more fun to be working in areas of strength than struggling to learn in our weaknesses, but God is able to help us in both. He is more than enough. I’m thankful for my weaknesses because they keep me humble.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      God is the ultimate source of help and I think a lot of times he sends people our way why is strong in the areas we are weak in. Knowing that would help us. I think your doing a great job keeping your launch team updated! Thank you for adding to the discussion.

      • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

        Thanks, Dan.

        • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

          Your welcome.

  • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

    I like this Dan, I’ve tried to be a all-rounded multi-tasker in the past without much success..but much frustration. It takes time to discover, grow and be comfortable operating from our strengths, but once there , it’s just the best. great thoughts.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      The process takes time but it’s defiantly worth the effort. Glad you are becoming more strength-based. Thank you for sharing:)

    • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

      Ngina this is clearly demonstrated in the way you narrowed down your target audience at your blog. You really focused on your strengths, and I believe it’s significantly altered your brand in a good way.

      • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

        It has DS…the key thing is operating from the gift, knowing where God’s called you. That’s where the fruit and impact is. It truly is a blessing.

  • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

    I completely agree that focusing on strengths is the way to lead both yourself and teams. We so often can do little about our weaknesses, but we can create distinction when we focus on our assets.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      We sure can, thank you for adding your thoughts.

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    Not as intentional as I should be…

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      What can or are you doing to become more intentional about being strength-based?

  • http://www.redletterbelievers.com/ David Rupert

    It’s like good exercise. The more I work out my muscles, the more support they give to my tired joints and I don’t hurt as much. Play to your strengths and your weaknesses will diminish

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Great analogy, thank you for adding to the discussion.

  • http://www.liveitforward.com/ Kent Julian

    Working in areas of strengths energize people. Focusing on strengths is good for leaders and good for team members as well.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Great point about it energizing the leader and the people. Thank you for reading and taking the time to share.

  • http://www.paulsohn.org/ Paul Sohn

    We become the version of ourselves when we operate under our strength zone, as well as being amazed how God uses our weaknesses for His good.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Amen! Thank you for adding to the discussion.