“ A person can perform only from strength. One cannot build performance on weaknesses, let alone on something one cannot do at all. Throughout history, people had little need to know their strengths. A person was born into a position and a line of work: The peasant’s son would also be a peasant; the artisan’s daughter, an artisan’s wife; and so on. But now people have choices. We need to know our strengths in order to know where we belong.” – Classic Drucker: Essential Wisdom of Peter Drucker from the Pages of Harvard Business Review. Managing oneself : http://hbr.org/2005/01/managing-oneself/ar/1
Research proves that improving one’s own strengths is the path to excellence. Building skills and knowledge according to your natural talent and having a choice to do more and more of what you are good at yields peak performance.
In a recent visit to IMD Switzerland, Usain Bolt explained how he focused on his strengths rather than his weaknesses, especially in the 100 meters where the start is normally seen as crucial.
“I was always a bad starter. I’m still not great,” he said, to laughter from the audience. “My coach Glen Mills told me the last 50 meters is the best part of my race, so I should just concentrate on getting to top speed.” Secrets of success from Usain Bolt http://www.imd.org/news/Secrets-of-success-from-Usain-Bolt.cfm
A number of experts contributed to such thinking. Many published their ideas on the subject in books, such as Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi , Soar With Your Strengths by Don Clifton. Martin Seligman reinforced the idea through positive psychology in books such as Authentic Happiness and Flourish. Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman wrote what great managers do differently in their book First Break all the rules.
Most of the time, we see people being sent for training to improve their weaknesses, “ You need to improve your communication skills – Find one and get trained” says a manager. Training may yield improvement in areas of weaknesses but it may yield better results if the same effort is spend on developing the natural talents. Imagine you send a good communicator for sharpening his skills and knowledge in communication, yes the magic happens!
Today you see finding fault and pointing weaknesses at all levels. Someone who is highly organized and structured (as per Judging type of MBTI) can easily notice that another person is disorganized. They completely overlook his or her natural strengths. Someone who is an extrovert (as per Dr.Jung’s personality type) may find an introvert to be incompetent and so on. But Great Managers understand that those who are unlike them are not to be labelled incompetent. They possess different strengths which should be tapped in for team performance.
Managers should be trained to identify, focus and build on strengths.( This is what coach Glen Mills did for Bolt). This helps managers to build strength based teams right from selection and provide opportunities for individuals to become a fulfilled version of themselves.
There is a need for a paradigm shift in the mindset of managers to move the needle from trying to improve the weaknesses to accelerating and multiplying strengths.
And finally Managers with natural talent to motivate and drive people to a higher cause will find this kind of learning highly valuable. Those who are task oriented individual performers will still feel there is a lot of hard work each team member needs to put in.
Krishnan Unni , Certified MBTI Professional and Strength Strategist. th.linkedin.com/in/krishnanunnips
Classic Drucker: Essential Wisdom of Peter Drucker from the Pages of Harvard Business Review. Managing oneself : http://hbr.org/2005/01/managing-oneself/ar/1
Secrets of success from Usain Bolt http://www.imd.org/news/Secrets-of-success-from-Usain-Bolt.cfm