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Become an Extraordinary Leader

| January 17, 2012

by Jim Bruce

The Tuesday Reading this week is “Become an Extraordinary Leader” comes from Scott Edinger’s blog at the Harvard Business School.  Edinger is the executive vice president of Zenger Folkman leadership development consultancy.

Your kids bring home their report cards.  Where do you focus – the As or the B– or C?  Of course, on the C.  It is really where improvement is needed.

In a performance review a staff member might do very well in most of his or her areas, but not as well in one.  Most likely your inclination as a manager is to have him or her work harder on the weak skill.

But, it’s a real pain to work on weaknesses.  Spending energy to move from say slightly below average to slightly above.

Edinger argues that to become a better leader you should focus on the things you are good at and become better at them.  He provides three principles to focus on as you further develop your strengths:

1.  Developing strengths requires a different approach than fixing weaknesses.  To improve in a weak area you focus directly on that area.  You improve your leadership strengths by a straightforward development of strongly correlated companion skills and behaviors.

2.  It works because it follows your instincts, the things you are good at and enjoy.

3.  Don’t worry about too much of a good thing.  Have you ever worked with someone who was too strategic?  Or, too credible?  Or, too good at building relationships?  Or, …  I think not!  So, continue to work onyour strengths, making them both deeper and broader.

And, you do have to work on those weaknesses that really get in your way.  But, your strengths are what enable you to make that real difference.


.  .  .  .  .   jim