Whether it’s the strengths based books from Marcus Buckingham and Tom Rath, a high school sports coach, or grandmother’s sage advice, we’ve all heard the maxim “use your strengths for success.” Many leaders go as far as to assess their direct reports to determine their strengths and encourage them to capitalize on their unique abilities. But what happens when those strengths are taken to an extreme?
An excess of anything can result in undesirable consequences. Leaders need to be aware how this might impact their team. One of the more common workplace challenges is the domineering associate recognized for delivering results and overcoming obstacles who, when taking their strength to the extreme, alienates those around them.
Another is the deep thinking, reflective associate successful for their profound problem solving abilities who, when getting too wrapped up in collecting and crunching data, fails to meet deadlines.
Leaders should encourage their direct reports to identify, leverage, and capitalize on their talents and praise them when they succeed in this approach but be prepared to offer course corrections if the behavior becomes too extreme.
Empowered leaders understand their direct report’s strengths and help them be leveraged for greater success.