Friday, 4 May 2007

Strengths-based management

Many organisations are now talking about managing people according to their strengths, rather than the traditional approach where weaknesses are addressed. I find this new strengths-based approach (being used in recruitment, selection, evaluation, development, project management) very interesting on several levels.

In my experience, people seem quite keen to talk about their strengths; at least, they are keener to do this than share their weaknesses (or 'development needs' if you want to be PC). This also gives the whole area of organisational evaluation and development much needed energy and enthusiasm, which is a fantastic outcome. For many employees, annual appraisals were occasions to be endured; now they find that their managers actually want to talk to them about the things they excel at, which makes people feel a whole lot better about themselves, more motivated and more engaged,

The idea of playing to your strengths isn't new of course, but the suggestion that you no longer need to be a well-rounded individual at work is. I think there are some key skills that you have to develop, regardless of your strengths, particularly around the 'soft' interpersonal skills. At some point, therefore, you may need to look at areas where you are deficient. In order to be truly effective in the workplace, an understanding of how to identify and build on ones skills, knowledge and experience, as well as ones strengths, is required.

It seems to me that the thrust of strengths-based management reflects the position of Positive Psychology at the moment - erring very much on the side of the positive rather than focussing on the negative. I think what is required for both to be sustainable in the long term, however, is a more holistic approach.

1 comment:

Matthias said...

Hi there!

I took the StrenghtsFinder one year ago and it has had a profound impact on my professional and personal life. Ever since, I have tried to manage based on strengths. The best guide for this has been the book "First Break All The Rules " of Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. However, I found that there are many relevant questions for a manager that this book addresses only superficially at best. Maybe the most critical questions are around how to staff and select for strengths.

I have searched in the internet and have not found a lot of information or even networks that would discuss strengths-based management. For this reason, I have created a blog and would very much like to invite the owners of this interesting blog as well as its readers to visit AND to contribute to it: