Eric Jacobson

Concentrate On Your Strengths Says Marcus Buckingham

In Company Culture, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Books, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training, Management, Motivating Employees on April 29, 2010 at 7:35 pm

I had the pleasure of hearing leadership expert Marcus Buckingham speak the other day.

His message was very clear — if individuals, teams, organizations, families, and businesses want to achieve optimum performance, each person needs to:

  • Own his/her strengths
  • Claim his/her strengths
  • Contribute from his/her strengths

And, then he said you need to put more of a priority on using and building your strengths than working to fix your weaknesses.

Unfortunately, reported Buckingham, when asked if it would be better to play to your strengths or fix your weaknesses to improve your performance, the majority of Americans who answer that question believe they should fix their weaknesses.  Buckingham thinks that’s the wrong priority.  His research further revealed that when Generation Y individuals (Americans born between 1977 and 1997) answer the question, the vast majority think fixing their weaknesses should be their priority.   He said that is going to present extra challenges in the workplace in the future.

Buckingham said that if leaders want to get the most out of their employees and teams, they should allow each person to use his/her strengths and that means:

  • Know me
  • Focus me
  • Surround me by like-minded people

“The ultimate goal is to move companies toward greater success and productivity by creating a workplace in which employees spend more than 75 percent of each day on the job using their strongest skills and engaged in their favorite tasks,” said Buckingham.

Buckingham has dedicated his career to answering the question:

  • In a world where efficiency and competency rule the workplace, where do personal strengths fit in?

He spent nearly two decades as a Senior Researcher at Gallup Organization, and is the author and/or co-author of four best-selling books:

  • First, Break All The Rules
  • Now, Discover Your Strengths
  • The One Thing You Need To Know
  • Go Put Your Strengths To Work

His new book is called:  The Truth About You:  Your Secret To Success.  Another of his books is called, Find Your Strongest Life.

Buckingham also shared his findings that when employees answer “Yes” to these three questions, high performance inevitably will be the result:

  1. Are my co-workers committed to quality work?  (What is excellence?  What does winning look like?)
  2. Do I know what is expected of me at work? (How will I be measured?)
  3. At work, do I have the chance to do what I do best every day? (Do you get me?)

So, if you are leading a team or business, the Holy Grail is to create a work environment where employees can answer “Yes” to those three questions, stresses Buckingham.

Buckingham graduated from Cambridge University in 1987 with a master’s degree in social and political science.

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