To succeed in the workplace, in relationships, and in life, focus on your strengths and manage around your weaknesses, advises author and consultant Marcus Buckingham.
He’ll address the 2020 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference, Feb. 23-27 in Washington, D.C.
In the workplace and within team environments, organizations should characterize people by who they are rather than what they lack, Buckingham says. That’s where companies will see the greatest return on investment from their employees.
“Learning is insight,” Buckingham says. “It’s generated from within the learner. What I’m trying to do as a team leader is capture moments so the employee, not me as a manager, can figure out ways to innovate around these moments, reapply them, and maybe even teach others about them.”
A strength isn’t something we’re good at, and a weakness isn’t something we don’t do well, he says. Instead, a strength is an activity that gives us strength—we look forward to doing it and it energizes us. Our weak areas, conversely, sap our energy.
The best team leaders find areas where employees generate energy—or “moments of goodness”—and inspire staff to turn them into moments of greatness, Buckingham says.
“It’s not just about praising the employee,” he says. “It’s about saying, ‘Good job, now why did you do that? How can we build around that?’”
Work, by its nature, is teamwork, Buckingham says. The challenge for managers is combining everyone’s strengths into a cohesive unit that focuses on one or two outcomes.
“The best team builders are those who figure out how to interlace everyone’s uniqueness's into a team where not every base is covered,” he says, “where people draw strength from one another.”
Teams must focus on outcomes, Buckingham adds.
“The point of work isn’t to be self-actualized,” he says. “We’re all working for an outcome. In the end, you have to find the path of least resistance. The best team leaders understand that our uniqueness is an asset to be maximized within that framework.”