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2010-12-15 14:37:38

Strengths Based Leadership
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  1. What are the three key findings of the Gallap data research?
    1. The most effective leaders are always investing in strengths - When leaders focus and invest in their employees' strengths, the odds of each person being engaged goes up eightfold.

    2.The most effective leaders surround themselves with the right people and then maximize their team

    3.The most effective leaders understand their follower's needs
  2. Are well rounded or specialized leaders better? Is there one way to be a leader?
    If you spend your life trying to be good at everything, you will never be great at anything. Those who strive to be competent in all areas become the least effective leaders overall.

    People have different strengths - and therefore different ways to lead. Churchill and Gandhi - for example - were both great leaders, but lead very differently. To be a great leader, you must be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, not try to imitate others.

    • In fact, a lack of self awareness can lead to masses of disengaged employees, unhappy customers and sterss..

    A leader needs to know his strenths as a carpenter knows his tools, or as a physician knows the instruments at her disposal. What great leaders have in common is that each truly know his or her strenths - and can call on the right strenth at the right time. This explains why there is no definitive list of characteristics that describes all leaders.
    - Clifton (leadership researcher)

  3. What are some interesting associations between self-confidence and quality of life?
    Judge Charlice Hurst studied self evaluations of 7,660 men and women between the ages 14 and 22 over a 25 year period and found that:

    • 1. People with higher self-confidence in 1979 ended up with higher income levels and carrer satisfaction in 2004
    • 2. The group with low self-confidence in 1979 reported almost three times as many health problems 25 years later in 2004.

    Therefore, people who are aware of their strengths and build self-confidence at a young age may reap a "cumulative advantage" that continues to grow over a lifetime.
  4. What are the four domains of leadership strenth, and why are they important?
    Executing (Achiever, consistency, deliberative, discipline, focus, responsibility). Leaders with a dominent strength in executing know how to make things happen.

    (Activator, communication, maximizer, competition, self-assurance, woo) Those who lead by influencing help their team reach a much broader audience.

    Relationship Building
    ( Adaptability, includer, harmony, empathy, individualization, positivity) Those who lead through relationship building are the essential glue that holds a team together.

    Strategic thinking
    (Analytical, context, futuristic, Learner) Leaders with great strategic thinking strengths are the ones who keep us all focused on what could be.

    They are important because teams should be well rounded, and should be composed of all four types of people. The most cohesive and successful teams possesed broader groupings of strenths.
  5. Who is Wendy Kopp?
    Wendy Kopp was a student at Princeton in 1988, who wrote her thesis on education inequality. She was determined to create a nattional teachers corp. She managed to raise 2.5 million, and reqruit 500 quality new memebers in just a year.

    She is seen as an "executing" personality as her biggest quality is achievement.

    Her corp is called "Teach for America" and is very large and successful ( 25,000 applicants in 2004, 120 million dollars )
  6. Who is Simon Cooper?
    He was the president of the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company. He took the place of a very popular leader, and was faced with the challange of "improving" the already well established brand. For Cooper, the key was building on the strengths of the brand. He described:

    • People create memories, not things. If we ask guests what color the carpet was in their guest room, they probably wont know. The real value comes from the ladies and gentlemen [employees] who bring that hotel to life. Ten percent is the platform, but the rest is people.
    • Of his top five strengths, four of them were of the influencing theme: maximizer, woo, activator, significance.

    He focused on improving guest experiences by increasing employee engagement levels and creating "lifelong guests" (fractional residences and clubs). by 2008, Ritz-Carlton's residences and clubs (fractional ownership) were the fastest growing segment of the business, with more than 40 new locations planned around the globe.. This was one of the best business moves in the company's history.
  7. Who is Mervyn Davies?
    He is the chairman of one of the worlds largest banks: Standard Chartered.

    He focused on the future and building relationships to become a great leader. He surrounded himself with people who could do specific things much better than he ever could. He built relationships through trusting people, and overcommunicated with his staff (EG. emailing his top executives about he felt when his wife got diagnosed with cancer). As a result, his employees always knew what he was thinking and therefore trusted him.

    The NY times and Economist described Mervyn Davies as a man who had set Standard Chartered up to be about the only bank in the world that was able to grow through one of the more difficult periods in recent history.

    Davies believes that the most important aspect of leading is simply knowing onself.
  8. Who is Brad Anderson?
    He is Best Buy's CEO.

    He was a sales associate at the very first best buy when he was 23 ( then named the "sound of music"). By 1983, the name changed to "Best Buy" and there were seven stores.

    Brad Anderson came up with the idea to move away from a comission based approach. He had a hunch that it would be the only way for their company to survive. By doing this, Best Buy became extremely successful.

    Anderson had a strange style, where he would simply dissapear for weeks on end in search of new ideas. He also surrounded himself with leaders he knew would challenge his thinking.

    Brad Anderson loves to learn, ask questions and innovate. Because of this, he has become a very successful leader.
  9. What do strong teams have in common?
    1. Conflict doesn't destroy strong teams because strong teams focus on results - healthy debates are encouraged and actually make the team stronger - Top teams seek out evidence and data and try to remain as objective as possible. As a result, while people may have different views, they are united in seeking the truth.

    2.Strong teams prioritize what's best for the organization and then move forward.
    - The best teams are able to keep the larger goal in view.

    3. members of strong teams are as committed to their personal lives as they are to their work.
    - As hard as they work for the company, they seem to bring hte same level of energy and intensity to their family, social and community life.

    4.Strong teams embrace diversity
    - Having a team composed of individuals who look at issues similarly, who have been the product of comparable educational backgrounds, and who have experiences wiht similar track records and approaches is not a sound basis for success.

    5.Strong teams are magnets for talent
    - Strong teams are teams that everyone wants to be on!
  10. What are followers' four basic needs?
    Trust -Followers do not tolerate dishonesty. In fact, a serious breach in honesty can destroy a sitting president, the CEO of a major corporation, a friendship or a marriage. The chances of employees being engaged at work when they do not trust the company's leaders are just 1 in 12. If they trust the organizational leadership, chances of employees being engaged is better than 1 in 2. Once a basic level of trust is established between two people they can make things happen in a fraction of the time that it takes other colleagues who don't have that bond.

    Compassion -
     People who agree with the statement, "My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person" are significantly more likely to stay with their organization, have much more engaged customers, are more productive and produce more profitability for the organization. Further, leaders must have a 'positive bias' because employees simply don't want to follow negative people around.

    Stability- Followers want a leader who will provide a solid foundation. They need constant support and reassurance, and need to know their job is 'safe'.

    - Hope gives followers something to look forward to, and it helps them see a way through chaos and complexity.