Thursday, October 1, 2009

Aligning People, Passions, and Positions for Maximum Performance

In Lee Ellis’ book called “Leading Talents, Leading Teams," Lee explores Specific Talents as strengths and struggles. It is interesting that Lee uses the word “struggles” for weaknesses. I think that alone speaks volumes about the fact that a weakness is not dynamic and presupposes we are not doing anything or can’t do anything about it. The word struggles has a meaning that reflects a dynamic change and wrestling match if you will, that is going on in a constant way. That is what life is about don’t you think? It is a constant growing experience. We are all in different struggles in this life. Noone is perfect and we are all still growing.

Lee’s Chapter 2 title is called: “STRUGGLES: The Dark Side of Talents.”
Besides our strengths the dark side of talents deals with the struggles we all have with our weaknesses. So, Lee points out that each of our talents is a two-sided coin. Lee even makes it clear that for each strength we have there is likely a corresponding struggle as well. Examples he uses are:

-Meticulous, thorough/May be too picky
-Prepare carefully/May lack spontaneity
-Persistent/Tend to be inflexible

Lee then goes on to use a real life example and historical character in Winston Churchill. He quotes a biography of Winston Churchill’s when he became the First Lord of the Admiralty. You see Winston Churchill had a great many leadership qualities that prepared him for his inevitable rise to be one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known. However, what we don’t hear all the time is that Churchill’s struggles were just his strengths in exaggerated form as Lee points out: Dash became rashness. Assuredness became cocksureness, etc.

So, we learn that we all have strengths and struggles, but to grow as a leader and a good follower, it takes constant study and work to improve on both accounts. How are you doing in growing your leadership skills? More importantly, do you recognize your struggles and work to overcome and/or improve them? Are you focused on growing yourself to be a better person of character?

I hope this blog moment helps you to step back and really evaluate who you are, who is following you, who are your co-workers, where you are going, and who might be following you. Many struggles are associated with character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. So, remember to always work on “Leading with Character First.”

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