Have you ever thought of yourself as a genius? I think most of us never think of ourselves as having an extraordinarily high intelligence or natural capability. Although academic research many years ago created a paradigm of general Intelligence and IQ, more resent research is telling us a different story. People can be of average intelligence or performance in one area while being highly intelligent and competent in another. The fact is, we all have strengths and when we take our strengths, develop them, and then apply them to our unique experiences and opportunities, we can become extraordinary. And if we work hard enough, perhaps a genius!!
I had the opportunity to have a lunch with New York Times Best Selling author Marcus Buckingham a couple of days ago and received some unique coaching in a small group of leaders who communed over leadership ideas and chicken. Marcus has taken his thoughts on strength-based leadership and expanded them in his new book Stand Out. Although I have been a strengths-based leader since reading his book Now Discover Your Strengths back in 2003, he got me thinking deeper. He asks the question, “What is your Natural Advantage?” What a great question for anyone who is in business, leading others or perhaps working to distinguish yourself from the crowd. After taking the assessment and reading the book I now have a better understanding of my natural strengths, natural passions, and perhaps my edge. Most importantly, I have a better perspective of where I can make my greatest contribution to others and the world.
There is power in knowing your strengths and natural advantage. There is empowerment in helping the people you lead know their strengths. Apply this to an organizational setting and you get a multiplier effect as people leverage their strengths and work in their area of natural advantage. Imagine if each person on your team or in your organization knew their strengths and where they could contribute their best and with the most passion. Do you think they would be engaged, motivated, and loyal? One of the most important questions we can ask ourselves as leaders is, “How will I help my people know their strengths, utilize them, and make their greatest contribution?
Here are the 9 “Strength Roles” Marcus outlines in his Book Stand Out.