Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Building Strong Leaders
March 2, 2009, 2:42 PM
Filed under: Leadership, Uncategorized | Tags:

Former Gallup Organization member and widely-popular thought leader Marcus Buckingham has always pushed us to recognize our strengths and go put them to work. You really shouldn’t be bothered focusing on your weaknesses—expending extra energy just to claim the “most improved” prize. Instead, according to Buckingham, the goal is to channel your energy into your strengths, which can actually make work and home life more exciting. Unfortunately, I don’t think this argument will go over too well with your son’s math teacher when you mention he should spend more time focusing on his basketball game and less on his sub-par Trigonometry homework.


Another thought leader from the Gallup Organization is Tom Rath, international bestselling author of How Full Is Your Bucket and StrengthsFinder 2.0. In early January, Rath, accompanied by renowned leadership consultant Barry Conchie, published yet another title through Gallup Press: Strengths Based Leadership.


At 216 pages, Strengths Based Leadership concisely identifies the three keys to being a more effective leader. From the book’s page: 

1. The most effective leaders are always investing in strengths. In the workplace, when an organization’s leadership fails to focus on individuals’ strengths, the odds of an employee being engaged are a dismal 1 in 11 (9%). But when an organization’s leadership focuses on the strengths of its employees, the odds soar to almost 3 in 4 (73%). When leaders focus on and invest in their employees’ strengths, the odds of each person being engaged goes up eightfold.


2. The most effective leaders surround themselves with the right people and then maximize their team. While the best leaders are not well-rounded, the best teams are. Strong, cohesive teams have a representation of strengths in each of these four domains: executing, influencing, relationship building, and strategic thinking.


3. The most effective leaders understand their followers’ needs. People follow leaders for very specific reasons. When we asked thousands of followers, they were able to describe exactly what they need from a leader with remarkable clarity: trust, compassion, stability, and hope.


Strengths Based Leadership has already begun to follow the pattern of Rath’s other books, residing on the New York Times’ bestsellers list for hardcover business books at spot No. 12 as of February 27. I’m sure Marcus Buckingham would agree that writing bestsellers is certainly one of Rath’s strengths.


For more resources from experts on leadership, check out Soundview’s 2009 Leadership Collection.


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