Monthly Archives: September 2016

Are You a Leader that Others Follow?

I was intrigued by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie’s book, Strengths Based Leadership (See more on that below.) and especially intrigued on their chapter on why people follow certain leaders. Gallup conducted a random sampling of 10,000 people using just these two questions:

  • “What leader has the most positive influence in your daily life?” and
  • “Now, please list three words that best describe what this person contributes to your life.”

The results were fascinating because, with no prompts or categories to choose from, the respondents overwhelmingly identified the same four characteristics of the leaders they choose to follow in their work, personal and community lives. These were: Trust, Compassion, Stability and Hope.

I found myself wondering how we feel we meet these characteristics. Here are some questions to ask ourselves.

  1. Trust: Do others see me as honest? Having integrity? Being ethical?
  2. Compassion: Do I show that I care? Am I empathetic and aware of other people’s needs?
  3. Stability: Do I lead from a solid foundation of values and strength? Can I move through change?
  4. Hope: Am I realistically optimistic and able to provide positive guidance for the future?

What are your thoughts? How do you rate yourself? How would others rate you? We all may need to take our leadership skills up to that next level and embrace these qualities more on a daily basis. I’m sure we will see powerful results!

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Strengths Based Leadership

Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow, by Tom Rath & Barry Conchie, Gallup Press, New York, NY, 2008.

This is one of the best books I’ve recently read on leadership. Acknowledging and appreciating our strengths as professionals is a continual thread in my work with leaders at all levels.

In one portion of the book, Rath and Conchie have summarized the extensive research by Gallup to help us understand the three ways to being a more effective leader: knowing our own strengths and investing in others’ strengths at the same time; strategically building a strengths based team; and finally, knowing why any of us work and follow a leader that we trust and who encourages us to work at our best. This is such a good book that I’m going to preview another chapter next month – so pick it up for yourself and your team.

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