Exercising People Strengths
by Shary Hauer

"You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him
discover it within himself." - Galileo

Your potential to be a Great Leader, to ignite passion, to inspire and move people -- to be the kind of leader others CHOOSE to follow -- is absolutely certain. The question is: How will you activate the untapped brilliance residing on your team?

Fact: "Only 20% of employees working in large organizations feel their strengths are in play every day - - that means that most organizations operate at 20% of their potential and capacity!" (The Gallup Organization)

Are you a GREAT People Manager?

If your organization happens to be operating at 20% capacity, what a tremendous opportunity to turn up the volume on the PEOPLE MANAGEMENT side of the business and start tapping the unrealized potential in every single employee!

Why not shift the energy from managing the work to coaching your people?


The definition of a great manager is "someone who turns someone else's talent into performance," according to Marcus Buckingham, author of Break all the Rules and Now, Discover Your Strengths. "This is where my focus has been--not on whether someone can set a vision, change an industry, or inspire the troops (although this is all critical and wonderful). My focus has been on that part of the leadership that relates to how you multiply yourself through someone else and how you turn someone else's talent into performance.

Most of those people who do this tremendously well are not necessarily people we put in the business press as heroes. We have interviewed over 80,000 great managers and they are wonderfully effective at being productive through their people -- but they are not the Jack Welch's or Michael Eisner's."

The #1 Leadership Success Factor

True People Managers are an endangered species. Yet, they are the most highly sought by the best organizations. In a study by Chief Executive Magazine and The Center for Creative Leadership, People Management skill was cited as the number one success factor for CEOs, executive teams and mid-level managers alike. For all levels, people management skill was considered to be the main driver - 40 to 45 percent - of a leader's success.

What People Management Quality Sparks the Highest Performance?

Individualization. Great People Managers know instinctively that the secret to great organizations is casting by individual strengths so that everyone can do a lot of what they do well.

"Great managers and leaders seem to realize that people are endearingly unique. You don't have 20 sales people -- you have 20 individuals who happen to be sales people," says Cunningham. "You can either try to build your whole organization to try to fight against that or you can assume that your 20 sales people are the same and motivated by the same thing. You can either assume that--or you can ignore it and build your systems to try to prevent people from being different, which is what most companies do: 'Here is the right way to sell. Here are the certain steps to selling. Here are the 15 steps to leading and the 10 steps to managing.' That is what most companies do. Unfortunately you end up fighting against the inherent individuality of people. People are not the same. Great leaders try to figure out and do a wonderful job of using people's endearing differences rather than fighting against them."

Put Your Strengths To Work!

1. Know Your Strengths: It's amazing the number of leaders I coach who have been so focused on minimizing their weaknesses, they've taken their strengths for granted. Some don't even know how to articulate them. Which of your talents are enduring and unique? Are you capitalizing on them?

2. Do a Strengths Review for each of your People: Be a keen observer and focus on what's different in each individual. What strengths may be unnoticed or underutilized? Don't know? Just ask: "Which of your skills, talents and interests do you want to exercise more?" "Where do you see an opportunity to put them into play?"

3. Delegate Weaknesses: Which of the items on your "high-priority to-do" list could be the ideal developmental, stretch assignment for one of your people? One of your team members could be chomping at the bit to dig into the very issue you're avoiding!

Shary Hauer is the founder and Head Coach of The Hauer Group, Inc. She is a Master Certified Coach (MCC) of high-achieving, high-potential corporate executives who aspire to lead their organizations and lives masterfully. As the Executive Potentialist™, Shary guides leaders and their teams in cultivating positive behavior change tapping all of their potentials. For the past 10 years, Shary has coached several hundred global executives throughout the U.S., Canada, Latin America and Europe.

To get your Success Path aligned, enroll for a complimentary Executive Coaching Consultation, and sign up for your free subscription to the popular Potentialist™ Leadership Briefing. Visit http://www.thehauergroup.com.

Many more articles in Executive Performance in The CEO Refresher Archives


Copyright 2006 by Shary Hauer. All rights reserved.

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