Answer This One Question to Supersize Your Leadership Abilities

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This guest blog was written by Sylvia Hacaj, coach and consultant. As a coach and consultant, Sylvia partners with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process to maximize their potential and navigate transitions and challenges. She presently serves on the board of the Kensington Education Foundation. In addition to a BA from The American University, Sylvia has a certificate in applied positive psychology and coaching skills from San Francisco State University, and a certificate from the Lily School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Have you ever been told to “lead from a position of strength?” What exactly does that mean? Turns out that one of the most important questions you can ever ask (and answer) is, “What are my strengths?”

Research shows that identifying your talents is key to how fast you can advance your organization’s mission--and your own career.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t have much of a vocabulary to articulate our talents. As a matter of fact, we actually tend to be experts on our weaknesses and fixate on eliminating these “flaws,” while neglecting our natural strengths.

What annual performance review wouldn’t be complete without the requisite “opportunities for improvement?” You don’t really question it. In fact, you expect it. If you supervise a team, you likely feel compelled to address this. I know I did! Everyone can get better, right?

Then I read this simple, but powerful thesis based on years of research by Gallup: The best way to get ahead in your career and be satisfied in your job is to focus on developing your strengths. 

No matter how hard you try, you really can’t improve your weaknesses. Discover your strengths and lean into them in your job to reach your fullest potential or find a new role that allows you to optimize them. 

The best piece of advice I ever got was, “Focus on your strengths and get your weaknesses to a point where they don’t trip you up.”

Ever since taking that to heart, I’ve become more effective and satisfied.

What about you? Do you know what your strengths are and how to lead with them? Do you know how they influence your leadership and communication styles?

To learn more about your leadership strengths, check out the upcoming seminar Understanding What Makes YOU a Great Leader on Thursday, June 15, at Foundation Center San FranciscoPre-registration required in order to receive and complete the Gallup StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment in advance of the seminar. Register today!