Why Leaders Fail— And What To Do About It

In a world that demands adaptability and resilience, leaders who prioritize strengths are paving the way for success in the workplace.

I recently worked with a client, Rick, who was frustrated. As leader of the sales team, he wasn’t getting the most out of his people. They were doing “ok”, but “ok” wasn’t going to cut it.

He knew it was on him as the leader to get results so he did something that is challenging for a lot of leaders to do — he intentionally listened to his team. Through one-on-ones and field rides, Rick concluded that he wasn’t leveraging each individual’s strengths.

As an example, one individual was heavily chartered with growing existing accounts, but their strength and desire was in hunting new business.

In fact, some people were on the verge of leaving his team because they simply didn’t feel like they were successful in their roles.

Rick realized it wasn’t their fault. As leader, it was his fault because he wasn’t putting people into a position to win.

Set Your Team Up For Success

Exceptional leaders set themselves apart by recognizing and harnessing the strengths of their teams. This approach not only cultivates a more engaged and motivated workforce but also unlocks untapped potential and produces greater results. Leaders who prioritize people’s strengths do so by implementing a culture of growth, collaboration, and success.

Finding Diamonds in the Rough

Leaders who focus on people’s strengths possess the unique ability to unearth the individual talents and capabilities of their team members. By identifying and leveraging these strengths, leaders empower their team members to excel in their areas of expertise.

This not only leads to improved job performance but also fosters a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment among employees.

When individuals are acknowledged for their unique strengths, they feel valued and recognized, which fuels their motivation to contribute meaningfully to the team’s objectives.

In short, people emotionally feel better which translates into greater confidence with every customer facing interaction.

Creating Engagement through Recognition

Research consistently demonstrates that employees who feel their strengths are recognized and utilized are more likely to be engaged in their work.

According to a Gallup study, employees who can use their strengths at work are six times more likely to be engaged. Engagement leads to higher levels of job satisfaction, productivity, and creativity for the organization.

Building a Collaborative Environment

Leaders who emphasize strengths understand that a team is a diverse makeup of talents and abilities. They create an environment where team members are encouraged to share their expertise and collaborate with one another.

This promotes a culture of mutual learning and support, where individuals not only contribute their strengths but also learn from their colleagues.

As a result, teams become more adaptable and capable of tackling complex challenges. When each team member is valued for their unique contributions, it fosters a sense of belonging and encourages open communication, leading to stronger team cohesion and effectiveness.

In Rick’s case, he was able to more easily motivate his team to the company’s revenue goals because his people were happier doing the things they were better at.

Nurturing a Growth Mindset

Focusing on strengths encourages a growth mindset within the team. Instead of fixating on weaknesses or shortcomings, team members are encouraged to view challenges as opportunities for learning and development.

This shift in perspective empowers individuals to take risks, innovate, and continuously improve their skills.

Leaders who cultivate a growth mindset foster a culture where setbacks are viewed as stepping stones to success. This mindset not only benefits individual team members but also equips the entire team to thrive.

Instilling Resilience and Adaptability

A strengths-based approach to leadership equips teams with the ability to navigate change and uncertainty effectively. By emphasizing what team members excel at, leaders instill confidence and resilience. Team members simply avoid second guessing themselves.

When individuals are aware of their strengths, they are more likely to approach new situations with a positive attitude and a belief in their abilities to overcome obstacles.

Fostering Employee Well-Being and Mental Health

Acknowledging and utilizing strengths not only benefits job performance but also contributes to overall well-being and mental health. When employees feel valued and capable, they experience higher levels of self-esteem and satisfaction.

This, in turn, can lead to reduced stress levels and improved mental health outcomes. Leaders who prioritize people’s strengths create a work environment that promotes employee well-being, leading to a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce.

Aligning With Your Team’s Strengths Is Strategic

Leaders who focus on people’s strengths possess a powerful tool for creating thriving and high-performing teams. In a world that demands adaptability and resilience, leaders who prioritize strengths are paving the way for success in the workplace.

In Rick’s case, he intentionally observed, asked questions, and listened to his team to ensure that he was in alignment with each individual’s strengths.

As a result of this approach, his team has been consistently meeting and exceeding numbers, turnover is down, and most importantly, people are genuinely happier. Embracing this empowering leadership style is not just a choice; it’s a strategic imperative for organizations looking to excel in today’s competitive landscape.

Nothing is more predictive of long-term sales success than excellence in sourcing, recruiting, hiring, and retaining top sales talent. Download our FREE eBook, The Ultimate Sales Interview Guide, and hire your next sales rockstar.

About the author

Keith Lubner

Keith Lubner is Chief Strategy Officer at Sales Gravy and acts as an advisor,…

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