#Strengths April 22

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Each year the blog takes on a different focus. In 2019 the goal is for each post to bring you the reader a lesson, quote, message, or story that can help you grow.


I believe that there is a common flaw in recruiting or hiring someone for a position on a team especially an executive team. The focus of the search is often based solely on competency as it relates to the job description.

What I learned from coaching college basketball was sometimes the best approach in recruiting is go after players that compliment the existing roster rather than mirror it.

A guard that can’t shoot but can penetrate needs a shooter to dump the ball off to. A shooter often needs someone willing to set screens to get him open. A team will always find a place for the best defender and rebounder.

Championship basketball team need well rounded roster to face all challenges. The team on the floor needs to have multiple STRENGTHS not be one dimensional. The best teams I coached had multiple players that had exceptional STRENGTHS in at least one thing but not the same thing. That is the fundamental I believe that many leaders involved in recruiting forget. Your team is better when people have different STRENGTHS.

Back in early April I finished reading a book called “Strength Based Leadership”

strength II

More than a decade ago, Gallup unveiled the results of a landmark 30-year research project that ignited a global conversation on the topic of strengths. They studied more than 1 million work teams, conducted more than 20,000 in-depth interviews with leaders, and even interviewed more than 10,000 followers around the world to ask exactly why they followed the most important leader in their life.

The study infers that leaders who try to be good at everything are never great at anything. It is okay to focus on your STRENGTHS as a leader.

Based on Gallup’s discoveries, the book identifies three keys to being a more effective leader: knowing your strengths and investing in others’ strengths, getting people with the right strengths on your team, and understanding and meeting the four basic needs of those who look to you for leadership.

The four domains of leadership strength are:

  • Executing
  • Influencing
  • Relationship Building
  • Strategic Thinking

In higher education and I am sure in other professions the default is you recruit by job function. You seldom make it a priority to look at leaders who along with being competent possess a strength described above.


Do you look for a specific leadership strength to go along with the competency needed? Many executive teams mirror the strengths of the CEO rather than compliment one another. The best executive teams I was on had people with different strengths.

What is your team lacking to be well rounded? The next time a vacancy exist make sure that a leadership strength is part of what you look for.

It is okay for individuals on the team not to be well rounded but the team has to be.


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