‘Strengths-Based Leadership’ Provides Tips and Tricks for All Leaders

When it comes to data-driven leadership techniques, look no further than Tom Rath and Barry Conchie's book “Strengths-Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow,” which outlines useful tools for leaders to thrive.

This leadership manual is based on the leadership principles researched by Dr. Donald Clifton for Gallup. Rath and Conchie then reviewed this research, which includes polls, interviews, and more, and synthesized it into leadership qualities that best serve an organization's needs.

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The first concept illustrated by Gallup's research was the three leadership keys: investing in strengths, maximizing teams, and meeting followers' needs. Investing in strengths means that team leaders find what's unique about each of their peers and highlight those abilities. Having this positive feedback loop will then cause employees to be more confident, engaged, and productive.

Next, having well-rounded teams is key, and by playing to everyone's strengths, a leader can highlight and embrace the different facets of everyone on their team. Like baking a cake, each employee provides a different ingredient to produce a stellar product. And good leaders recognize their gaps in leadership and surround themselves with great people to fill those gaps.

Rath and Conchie add that to have a well-rounded leadership team, leaders must have skills in execution, influencing, relationship building, and strategic thinking. Leaders can be particularly strong in one or more of these characteristics, but all four are needed for a solid team. The book continues to describe abilities in each of these four domains that business leaders can implement practically daily.

Lastly, understanding needs is imperative when it comes to management and leadership. Ultimately, followers have four basic needs: trust, compassion, stability, and hope. Without nurturing and catering to those basic needs, leaders won't be listened to, respected, or obeyed. Without followers, a leader cannot exist, which means that their needs always come first.