In my 1989 book, “The Way of the Tiger: Gentle Wisdom for Turbulent Times” (still going strong!) I introduced the concept of leading with strengths, since popularized by Gallup, among others, as “strengths-based leadership”. In the 25 years since I helped to found this movement, I have begun to rethink about the “strengths-emphasis” more.
Focusing only on our strengths and ignoring our weaknesses is like taking a Pollyanna approach to who we are, because, in truth, we are both our strengths and our weaknesses. The strengths-based movement also encourages stereotypical leadership: strong, powerful, charismatic and heroic. It would be nice if this was who we are all the time but, in reality, most of us aren’t.
If strengths, or being strong, is at one end of the continuum, then vulnerability (not weakness) is that the other. So this raises another opportunity: Could we be more effective as leaders if we became stronger with our strengths and more transparent with our vulnerabilities?
Being a leader means working with humans (in the most part!), and humans operate on the fuel of feelings. A leader with a high EQ (emotional intelligence), will foster a workplace where people can feel good about themselves and therefore be more engaged with their work. In a nutshell, people who feel good about themselves will do a better job! Take a look at this quote below:
“The data indicate that workplaces with engaged employees, on average, do a better job of keeping employees, satisfying customers, and being financially productive and profitable. Workplace well-being and performance are not independent. Rather, they are complimentary and dependent components of a financially and psychologically healthy workplace.” Well-being in the Workplace and it’s Relationship to Business Outcomes – Gallup
So how do you become a great leader? A successful leaders job is to these three things:
1. Help people change behavior 2. Create and environment where people can be the best they can be 3. Help people believe in themselves
AMANDA GORE How to Inspire People – Infect them with The Enthusiasm Virus
“What I do best is share my enthusiasm.”
This quote from Bill Gates, the co founder of Microsoft is worth making a life philosophy. After all folks, lets face it, this man is one of the richest in the world. He has arguably had a greater influence on business and communication than any one else – ever. He has changed the whole paradigm of work and how we do business. He even seems to have a successful home life.
I believe excitement ‘jumps’! If someone is excited, enthusiastic and passionate about something, they ‘infect’ those around them with the virus! Of course, some people are more susceptible to the enthusiasm virus. Jane Campion, the New Zealand film director and producer is quoted as saying “If anyone said “Let’s do the washing up” really enthusiastically, I would leap up with great excitement!”. I love that approach to life!
Why choose to be someone – or hang around anyone – who dampens enthusiasm: a wet blanket who puts out the fire of life? Make a decision – and choose – to be enthusiastic about most things! Every task you do, do it with energy and vitality. Even if it’s vacuuming the floor!
If I got a dollar for every time someone asked me why I joined Al Jazeera America, I wouldn’t need the job. But since nobody is offering to pay me for the answer, I’ll give it up for free.
It excites me. It’s awakened senses I haven’t felt for a while.
I’m a business reporter; that’s code for “frustrated business person.” I talk endlessly about business. I know what works and what doesn’t. I know why businesses fail. I can read financial statements and identify good CEOs and great workers and amazing opportunities. Business, to me, is not about money; it’s about passion and commitment and hard work.
So now I get to be part of a business. A start-up, for that matter. As a global media network, Al Jazeera doesn’t suffer from some of the common start-up problems. But it does face the single biggest challenge ALL businesses face: “If we build it, will they come?” And that excites me.
In 1993, when I was a young man, I flew several times a week. That was “back in the day” when passengers didn’t have individual TVs and all had to watch the same movie. Can you believe the indignity? What’s more, the airlines didn’t rotate in new titles very often. The irony of watching Groundhog Day over and over again wasn’t lost on me. Fortunately, I love reading and devoured many a book, most on the world of finance. One of them, Beating the Street, ended up providing me with an incredibly good rate of return. I invested only $23 yet the knowledge it imparted is still paying huge dividends 20 years later.
The book was a follow-up to the mega-hit One Up On Wall Street by Fidelity’s superstar manager, Peter Lynch. It covered off a wide variety of investment concepts in an entertaining and understandable fashion. However, one particular idea really caught my attention. I’m normally skeptical when someone, even a very smart someone, claims an approach has provided and will continue to provide better-than-market returns. But there was something about this one that intuitively appealed to me. Its simplicity and strong logic drew me in.