Pitfalls of Our Strengths: Leading Others

May 2015                               Executive Intelligent Blog

Our talents are not equal.  We each have strengths and weakness that we demonstrate in the various areas of our lives.  Take leadership, for example.  Do you know what your strengths are as a leader and how they help your efforts?  Many leaders know one or a few of their strengths.  For example, I bet you can identify things like: “I am good at getting people to listen.”   “People do what I say.”  “People always come to me for help.”  “I make decisions quickly.”  “I explain to people all the reasons and logic for their work.”

All of the examples reflect useful attributes for leaders, under particular circumstances.  And, those attributes can also be a detriment at times.  If you think your strengths can’t have a downside and you don’t use them with discretion, you may find that your strengths are also your weaknesses.  When they are relied on too heavily, our positive qualities can dominate our leadership repertoire and not leave room for other important leader attributes.  In the previous examples, could team members’ perspectives generate the following concerns:  “How approachable do they consider you?” “Do they know what your vision is and do they support it?” “Do they feel empowered to do their work and take responsibility for it?” “How often do you consider information from others, additional possibilities and facts?” “How often do you listen to people and allow them to contribute?”  These questions also reflect valuable practices of leaders.

Unfortunately, it seems that our strengths in leadership serve us in ways that do not serve us at other times.  Do you know which is which?  Regularly, it can be difficult to discern.  You see, not only can our attributes, our individual propensities for thinking, feeling, and behaving, work for us, they can also work against us.  Gallup’s research reveals, in “Now, Discover Your Strengths”, light shining onto this issue.  They note that people tend toward using their talents too often, at the wrong time, and too strongly, rendering what was a strength into a flaw.  Take the example of a woman who is skillful at asserting her position.  There is a point in situations when asserting one’s position no longer is useful.  In time, if she does not stop her assertion and look for openings to bring the interaction around via compromise or negotiation, her talent at assertion is being overused and is now working against skillful problem-solving and desirable resolution.

Ultimately, all of us are better at some things, than we are at other things.  It is very useful to know where our individual talents lie.  But, then what?  The next step is to for us to exercise strengths with precision and finesse, not using them at the wrong time or letting them build up too much momentum.

Happy Strengths Finessing!

ExecIntel Solutions

For more specifics on setting and achieving goals, here is a workbook that will take you through it, step by step.  Learn how our  Coach-in-a-Box Goal Setting Workbook can help you achieve your goals for less than the cost of a movie and popcorn!
And, if you are in  Austin during the summer and would like to build your goals or leadership voice and presence, you can sign up for our summer classes here: ExecIntel Solutions Classes !

5 Things Leaders Can Do To Help Engage Employees


October, 2014 Executive Intelligent Blog

Work engagement is good for business. When people are engaged in their work they are productive and they are a positive addition to the team. These folks are connected to what they are doing and to the people that are impacted by their work. They resemble an employee that is happy to be at work. They are also invested in the quality of their work and seeing it through from start to finish.

Reports suggest that, unfortunately, the majority of people are not engaged in their work and many are actively disengaged.  How much does the lack of engagement impact your success? For leaders, what’s hardest to manage is that engagement reflects an employee’s internal motivation and experience, which is an individual, internal state. There are, however, two precursors to work engagement and things that managers can do.  

First, we need to clearly understand what is expected of us. This may sound like a no-brainer, but I challenge you say aloud what is expected of each of your team members on a given project. If they actually understand completely what is expected of them, great; you have the first requirement. If, however, you test with this question and they do not fully understand, then you know you need to provide clarification. Keep in mind that understanding is specific to each individual and is likely to be somewhat different from one team member to the next. And, remember that this is necessary to be genuinely engaged in work!

Second, we need to have access to the materials and resources that are needed to do our work. Do your team members have everything they need to succeed or do their job well? If not, this is a good conversation to have with your manager. As much as work gets pushed down the ladder, it is a sign of good leadership to work to get the resources and materials that you team needs. It is in everyone’s best interest that employees are engaged!  

Furthermore, there are three important ingredients for engagement that leaders can offer. They facilitate this by creating processes and supporting employees to have ownership in the work they do. They coach and model for the team how to connect to their individual purpose in their work.  Plus, they seek to limit and remove unnecessary distractions, setting the team members up to be more successful. This allows them to focus on priorities without a growing pile of less-important tasks or a growing to-do list.

5 Actions for Improving Engagement

1. Understand what is expected.

2. Have needed resources.

3.. Ownership in one’s work.

4.  Purpose in one’s work.

5. Limit distractions.

The questions noted above should be asked periodically when there a juncture or you are seeing signs that team members are not so engaged. Chances are, we can ourselves become more engaged at work, facilitate greater understanding, or offer resources that may need shoring up, in order for everyone to give work their best performance.

Employee engagement reflects a powerful intangible that can dramatically improve the bottom line.

With shrinking margins, the people frontier is where to focus business growth. Engaged employees are good business.

ExecIntel Solutions Team

Visit us on Amazon and Google Play Books to find our powerful products on goal achievementorganization culture, and leadership development or simply go to our website www.ExecIntelSolutions.com to find tools and contact information for help to reach the next level of success.    

Check out our upcoming classes in Austin this fall!

1. Time Management

2. Goal Setting and Achieving

3. Developing Leadership Presence

Set Your Goals and Achieve Your Desires

         November 2013               Executive Intelligent Blog

Don’t make the mistakes of years past.  Set yourself up to achieve your goals this next year!!
Often times we set our goals, thinking about what we want but, we do not think about the conflicts those wants may present in our lives.  Think through whether there are aspects of your life or environment that do not support or that possibly contradict what you are trying to achieve?  If so, it is unlikely that you will achieve your goal!  This understanding should not be overlooked, despite it being a seemingly simple concept.  It is noteworthy because people have an uncanny ability to gloss over details and subtleties that do not fit the image of what they want.

Before you create your goals, consider all the things that are most important to you.  Do they support one another or can they co-exist?  A common example lies in a goal to “achieve more,” which requires taking on more responsibility.  This type of goal can create problems for people if they are also trying to have more balance in their life or spend more time with loved ones.  Neither desire is better or wrong. They will likely, however, compete for your time resource.

Preparing to create our goals can definitely help us achieve them!  So, before you set your goals, here are some steps to ensure you get where you want to go. 

1) Get clear about where you are heading and why. 
2) Identify all the things that are most important to you.
3) Set appropriate goals that do not conflict with other aspects of your life.
4) Stay focused, work diligently to achieve your desires, and bolster yourself as needed along the way.

If you are one that likes more information or would like personal support to set and achieve your goals, take a look at our downloadable Coach-in-a-Box or contact us to learn how our coaching services will help you achieve the outcomes that are most important to you.

Wishing you and yours

                                 Happy Thanksgiving!!

ExecIntel Solutions Team