Focus On Your Strengths

The stronger we become as leaders, the stronger team we can build. The stronger team we can build, the more we can achieve together.

Everybody has strengths and weaknesses. Most people focus on their weaknesses and neglect their strengths, so after a while their strengths become weaker. We should focus on our strengths and develop our weaknesses.

Our character is an area that most need to develop and what I would consider a weak area. By developing our character to become strong, our leadership develops at the same time.

A team is not a team until a highly effective leader turns them into a team. The quicker you can do this the closer you will be to becoming a highly effective leader. Low performing leaders do not actually lead teams, they lead groups of people but call them teams.

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When you first take over a team, you are actually taking over a group. They may have worked together with a previous leader and called themselves a team, but it will be up to you as the new leader to turn the group into your team.

When I have taken over groups in the past, the first thing I discovered was, the people who wanted to be there, and the people who didn’t. Some of the groups I had taken over had never even met each other before. So right from the beginning I knew it would be tougher to turn the group into a team.

1. Turning A Group Into A Team

The most important thing when taking over a new group that you want to turn into a team is, respect. If you want to turn them from a group into a team, then you must show the group respect right from the beginning. When you show respect right from the beginning, you will find it a lot easier to build relationships with the group.

You will find it a lot easier to build the group into a strong team. To do this you must work on and build your character to be the strongest it can be. It takes character to turn a group into a team. It takes character to show respect. It takes character to build relationships.

Having worked in the engineering and rail industry for over 20 years, I have seen many engineering managers take over new groups, and really struggle to turn them into a team. The problem for them was, they knew a lot about the job (competency), and were very experienced engineers.

However, they had very little leadership training or experience (character). That is the reason I am writing this article, and my other articles. The only way to turn a group into a team is through leadership.

A highly effective leader knows that to turn a group into a team, then they must find out what each team member’s strongest competencies are. Then to help them grow and improve, they must focus on these strengths.

A highly effective leader also knows that they must find out what each team member’s weaknesses are. Then to help them grow and improve, they must develop those weaknesses in their character.

2. Strengthening Character

Everybody needs to work on themselves every day to strengthen their character, including you. It will be your team member’s character (who they are) as the reason they are not where they and the team should be, or need to be.

When working won your team member’s strengths, in the area of competency (what they know), this is what will push them and the team forward.

Highly effective leaders know to work on themselves every day on their character. When it comes to their people, they help them to work on themselves and focus on building their character every day too.

A highly effective leader has helped so many of their people in the area of character, that character building forms their leadership development and personal growth initiatives. Some of their people don’t work on their character every day, and so should use these initiatives to change that habit.

3. Focus On The Right Things

I focus 20% of my time developing my weaknesses in the area of character, and 80% of my time working on my strengths in the area of competency when working on myself every day. This also applies when it comes to focussing on the team.

I focus 20% of the time developing my team’s weaknesses in the area of character, and I focus 80% of my time working on my team’s strengths in the area of competency.

Developing your team’s character will help to mitigate most of the problems that occur with team’s. Most problems are due to a person’s character, not their competency. So, developing character will help reduce these problems.

Most leaders spend 100% of their time working on competency, and do not help to develop their team’s character. When they don’t develop their own, or the team’s character then there is no leadership within the team. Especially when the team are going through a difficult time.

When leaders do not work on, and develop their own character, they do not lead themselves. If they do not lead themselves, then how can they lead a team, or a group of people?

When leadership is lacking within a group, it is usually due to the leader’s lack of character. If the leader does not develop their own character, then they cannot lead by example and inspire their team to do the same.

As mentioned earlier, when taking over a group of people before you can turn them into a team, you need to know what their strengths are. So, you need to focus on the group’s competencies, and to find out their strengths in this area, you need to ask them questions.

4. Asking The Right Questions

Questions will generate a discussion. The questions I like to ask are, what do they like to do? What don’t they like to do? How long have they been with the organisation? How long have they been in the industry? What was their previous job? Who have they worked for in the past? What are their hobbies? What experience do they have?

These types of questions will spark a conversation between you and the new group member, and will allow you to dig deeper.

When you have all the answers you need, you will know how to start building a relationship with the group member and the group as a whole. The stronger your relationship becomes, the stronger the team becomes.

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It is then that you can start to focus on their strengths and help them to develop their weaknesses. When we focus on our teams strengths and develop their weaknesses, we are expressing our own humility, and striving towards our team’s vision and purpose.

When developing our people, we are developing ourselves too. We are becoming stronger leaders for the benefit of our people. We put our people before ourselves, but do not consider ourselves less.

When we are around a leader who is strong and puts their people before themselves, it gives us a great feeling. When they focus on the team’s vision and purpose, it inspires us to do the same and follow them.

Being around a humble leader gives us a better chance to achieve what we set out to achieve.

I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.

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All the best,

Tom (LeadGrowInfluence)

20 thoughts on “Focus On Your Strengths

  1. Thank you for this important tips. Although I’m a natural leader, I have always had trouble getting it all started. Often, I have resorted to autopilot and playing by the book. I think with this tips I’m better placed to not only lead but be at the tip of a winning team.

    1. Hi Zay,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased you found the article valuable.

      Thank you for sharing your experiences with me. It is difficult to get started, but as with everything, it takes time. The leadership journey is lifelong and it is a learner’s journey. There is no end point or final book on leadership, that is why there are so many books. So embrace it and enjoy the journey.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  2. Great article

    I have been looking for ways to help them get better so my business will also grow,
    I think these tips are great especially the building of character as it will help the whole company grow.

    1. Hi Thabo,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so happy that you thought it was a great article.

      I hope the tips you have learned, you will put into action. I would love to know how you get on with these tips, if you wouldn’t mind telling me?

      If you need any further help or advice then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

      All the best,

      Tom

  3. Hi Tom,

    Thank you very much for your article. I love this quote: ”Being around a humble leader gives us a better chance to achieve what we set out to achieve.” I think this is so true. A true leader leads by example and accepts his mistakes , asks questions if he doesn’t know the answer and it is always willing to learn from his employees.

    Kind regards,
    Yoana

    1. Hi Yoana,

      Thank you for your comment and your kind words. I’m so pleased you loved some of my quotes in the article and that it has helped you.

      You are so right, a true leader does lead by example and accepts their mistakes. I’m pretty sure that is how you lead too.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  4. Hi Tom,

    You made some great points about how effective leaders lead their teams. The part where you said, “Low performing leaders do not actually lead teams, they lead groups of people but call them teams.” I have seen this as an employee. I have had a couple of different bosses that didn’t know how to be an effective leader. They weren’t trying to be the best leader they could be, they were just on a power trip and didn’t care about the people they were leading. I think more companies should send their leaders to trainings about becoming an effective leader. Again, great article.

    -Amanda

    1. Hi Amanda,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found the article helpful.

      Thank you for sharing your experiences of seeing low performing leaders leading groups of people instead of teams. I have had very similar experiences, I was even one of those leaders very early in my leadership career. But, we have learned from those experiences and can become the best we can be.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  5. Hi,

    Great article, very informative and its given me plenty to think about.

    Spending 80% of your time focusing on your own strengths and the strengths of your team felt a bit surprising to me.

    However, once you’d explained the need for this and the fact that it went on to increase competencies I could see the benefits.

    You’ve certainly made me check to see if i’m doing this often enough!

    Thanks for taking the time to write about this.

    1. Hi Judy,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased the article has made you think a little bit differently, that was my aim and is the aim for all my articles.

      If you need any further help or advice with what you take action on from this article then please don’t hesitate to contact me.

      All the best,

      Tom

  6. Thank you so much for this crucially important article, Tom! As a member of the legal field, I completely agree with you that a true leader is one who respects his group as equally intelligent and capable coworkers, takes the time to get to know them on a more personal level, and welcomes constructive criticism. I have worked for unruly bosses who thought that the world revolved around them, never thought that they did anything wrong, refused to listen to constructive criticism, and micromanaged their “teams” to the extreme. Needless to say, many people left (the turnover rate was alarming), work didn’t get done, and the firm suffered as a result of it. One should never think that he or she is better than his or her team-just as you may think that they’re replaceable, they feel the same way about you (there are plenty of professional fish in the sea). Great read! God bless you!

    1. Hi C.N.,

      Thank you for your very thorough comment. Really pleased that you found the article valuable.

      Thank you for sharing your experiences of working with some unruly bosses, as I have very similar experiences to you. So, I totally see where you are coming from and I believe you have learned from those experiences. So make sure you don’t be like those unruly bosses, as I won’t be like them either.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  7. Hi Tom,

    It’s a fantastic article. I work in one company for more than 14 years. I remembered that when I was still a junior member, I have to work with some team leaders who just ordered me without any respect to complete my duties. Now, I start to take the lead role. This article just gives me very valuable information about how to be a good leader. I totally agree that respect is the most important thing to make a team. Meanwhile, I hope I could develop my character as a good leader.

    All the best,

    Alex

    1. Hi Alex,

      Thank you for your comment and kind words. It’s great that you found the article valuable.

      Thank you for sharing your experiences in working for your company for 14 years. I’m really pleased that you found the information helpful to you. You are right, respect is very important within a team. Work on yourself every day and build on your character as well as your competency.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  8. Great post Tom, I really like your point of view. What you said about good leaders being humble and putting their team members before themselves resonates with me. One of the best bosses I ever had told our team that he wanted each of us to know more about and be better at our individual roles than he could, even though he had had experience in our roles as he moved up in his career. He said that for our team to do well, we each had to have confidence in our own and each other’s strengths, and the only way to do that was for him to not micromanage and let us learn from mistakes.
    Your first point about showing respect is so important too. Such a basic thing, but some leaders just don’t do it. And I find that when a leader shows respect and appreciation for everyone on the team, that’s contagious, and the team members will value and go the extra mile for each other too.
    Anyway, I really enjoyed this. Looking forward to reading more.

    1. Hi Jordan,

      Thank you for your very thorough comment. I’m really pleased that the article resonated with you.

      Thank you for sharing your experience with one of the best bosses you ever had. I can resonate with you because I had similar experiences with one of the best bosses I ever had. Your boss seems great and I hope he is still doing well.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  9. Thank you very much for this amazing article about the strengths of a leader. All management should read this. I may pass this information on to my managers on our next meeting. We often focus on the leaders’ weaknesses, how about their strengths. They try their hardest to keep things going. This also apply to a home/family unit too.

    Thank you for bringing highly useful content to your website.

    Best wishes

    1. Hi Habib,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found the article amazing, really means a lot to me.

      If you can share this article with managers who you know and think they need to read it then lease do. Share it with others who you think it might be helpful too.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  10. You did a great job ! I believe that this is the information that can’t be find on the web easily and you decided to share it with others for free, that’s really great!

    I didn’t know much about focusing on strengths but I’ve been always interested to know more about this topic and your comprehensive guide helped me a lot. I don’t know if you wrote this post 100% by yourself or got help from other sources as well, anyway, it has really brilliant information which convinced me to share it with my friends on social networks.

    I think, the Internet needs more quality posts like yours these days, especially when we see a lot of crappy ads and scams about this topic. You can’t read a post easily on a website without seeing tons popups but your site and post is an ideal example of a quality article which is not covered by annoying ads, has very useful information and lets readers enjoy reading every piece of it.

    Thank you again and I wish you continue providing such that quality information in the future which turn the Internet and blogs into a better place to surf!

    Best,
    Ali

    1. Hi Ali,

      Thank you for your very thorough comment. I love to share my knowledge as it is the only way others can learn, and then share that knowledge too so it becomes a snowball effect.

      I’m so pleased that this article has helped you a lot, I would love you to read some of my other articles too and see if they have the same effect.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

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