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In the topic 'Focusing on Strengths'


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Wasting Time on Weaknesses

Fixing weaknesses is so deeply ingrained in our practices and beliefs. When coaching or having performance discussions with a team member, most leaders will quickly gloss over strengths to address “improvement areas.” After reading How to Be Exceptional: Drive Leadership Success by Magnifying Your Strengths, Janet Pierce, Vice President of Education for Certified General Accountants […]

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White Paper Now Available: Can Strengths Be Taken Too Far?

In “Can Every Strength Become a Weakness?” I reported on the lively LinkedIn Strengths-Based Leadership Development discussion group on “How do you help leaders let go of focusing on their weaknesses?” Part of the discussion focused on the mistaken belief that strengths can be overdone and become weaknesses. If you’d like to follow this discussion […]

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Can Every Strength Become a Weakness?

Eons ago Archimedes said, “Give me a lever long enough, and fulcrum strong enough, and single-handed I can move the world.” Leveraging strengths have proven to be a powerful way for leaders to boost their effectiveness. A few months ago my blog on “Letting go of Weaknesses is Really Hard” responded to commonly held beliefs […]

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Join Our Strengths-Based Leadership Discussion Group

If you’re a LinkedIn member please join our Strengths-Based Leadership Development group. If you’re not already connected to me, please click on http://ca.linkedin.com/in/jimclemmer/ and send me an invitation to connect. As a reader of this blog you should find our recent discussion (How do you help leaders let go of focusing on their weaknesses?) useful. […]

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Strengths-Based Development for Parenting and Education

An 11 Keys to Building Extraordinary Leaders and Coaches webinar participant e-mailed me with this observation and question: “It’s amazing that for so long our organization has been concentrating on improving employee weaknesses and seemed to forget about helping them achieve greatness by focusing on what they are good at. I assume I can use […]

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Letting Go of Our Weaknesses is Really Hard

Two readers recently posted comments voicing the common struggles many people have in letting go of weaknesses when developing leadership effectiveness. One reader responded to Zenger Folkman’s Harvard Business Review blog Three Myths About Your Strengths by naming a fourth myth as focusing on your strengths means you can ignore your weaknesses. He went on […]

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Is Your Culture Built on a Weak Foundation?

In the opening lines of the chapter entitled, “Making Strength Productive” in his 1967 book The Effective Executive, the “father of modern management,” Peter Drucker writes, “to make strength productive is the unique purpose of organization. It cannot, of course, overcome the weakness with which each of us is abundantly endowed. But it can make […]

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Changing Forms Doesn’t Create Strengths-Based Performance Appraisals

As with my webinar earlier this month, 11 Keys to Building Extraordinary Leaders and Coaches (now archived and available for viewing), when presented with the overwhelming research, reflecting on their own experiences with good and bad leaders, and thinking about what motivates them to stick with an improvement plan, most audience members experience a sharp […]

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Most Performance Appraisals like Being Poked in the Eye with a Stick

In 1998, Martin Seligman, Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, was elected President of the American Psychological Association by a landslide. This set him casting about for a central theme for his time in this key leadership role. A few weeks later — still puzzling over a theme — he was weeding in […]

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Leveraging Strengths and Building Team Spirit

I was working with a highly energized financial services team who really connected with the power of strengths-based leadership. Part of our discussion centered on the story of a 7th grade teacher who had each student write down what they felt was the greatest strength of each of their peers (see “The Enduring Impact of […]

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Authentic Leadership Comes from Building Our Strengths

I will be delivering a presentation next April at a healthcare leadership conference. The conference theme focuses on the courage to bring authenticity to action. A couple of my books have chapters on authenticity as one of seven core leadership principles. In light of our work over the past 18 months with Zenger Folkman’s strengths-based […]

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Optimistic Leaders are Four Times More Effective: 8 Steps to Get You There

Eleanor Roosevelt, American diplomat, writer, and U.S. First Lady once said, “In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” My book, Growing @ the Speed of Change, was built around the fundamental choices of […]

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Building Leadership Strengths 2 – 3 Times More Effective Than Fixing Weaknesses

In a chapter entitled “Making Strength Productive” in his 1967 book The Effective Executive, the “father of modern management,” Peter Drucker writes, “You cannot build performance on weaknesses. You can build only on strengths. To focus on weakness is not only foolish; it is irresponsible. It is a misuse of a human resource as what […]

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Asset-Based Community Development is Part of Emerging Strengths-Based Movement

I had lunch recently with Derek Alton to discuss his new role as Campaign Animator at the Tamarack Institute for Community Engagement. Derek is a sharp, creative, and ambitious young innovator who is very driven to fulfill Tamarack’s mission of “collaboratively creating vibrant communities by engaging learning leaders.” I’ve stayed in touch with Tamarack’s co-founding […]

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Five Steps to Making Time for the Work That Matters

Are you frustrated and overwhelmed by a flood of e-mails, meetings, and endless administrative tasks? Does it feel like the harder you work, the less you accomplish? In their article, “Make Time for the Work that Matters,” in the September issue of Harvard Business Review, London Business School professor Julian Birkinshaw and productivity consultant Jordan […]

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How to Become The Indispensable Leader

My last blog discussed the key findings and advice outlined in the Harvard Business Review article, “Making Yourself Indispensable” (click here to read that blog post). At the time that article appeared in HBR, executive coach and bestselling author, Marshall Goldsmith, interviewed Jack Zenger in his Huffington Post blog. Read the interview at “The Indispensable […]

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Making Yourself Indispensable

In preparing for Zenger Folkman’s Client conference next week in Park City, Utah, I reread “Making Yourself Indispensible” by Jack Zenger, Joe Folkman, and Scott Edinger published in Harvard Business Review. Reading this landmark article nearly two years ago was one of the key steps in taking a closer look at Zenger Folkman’s revolutionary leadership […]

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Can a Strength Become a Weakness?

Our work with strengths-based leadership development over the past year has been highly rewarding and sometimes frustrating. It’s rewarding to watch workshop participants connect with the idea of building on their natural strengths. Once most people see the deep and compelling research and think about the personal motivation for growth and development that comes from […]

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A Common Misconception Hampering Leadership Skill Development

In recent keynote presentations and workshops with HR and leadership development professionals, more and more participants have been embracing the approach of building on strengths. When presented with the powerful evidence and logic of strengths-based leadership development, most people are convinced. But it’s tough to let go of deeply ingrained practices and “conventional wisdom.” One […]

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Leadership Sweet Spot: Strengths, Passion, and Organizational Needs

Most leadership development workshops provide short term inspiration that quickly dies out. That’s usually because participants are encouraged to focus their improvement efforts on weaker areas. As outlined in my Double Learner Motivation with Strengths-Based Leadership webinar, focusing on strengths is much more effective and lasting. Direct reports, bosses, peers, and others assessing overall leadership […]

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