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Strength-Based Leadership

Do you have the chance to do what you do best every single day? Chances are, you don’t - in fact, only 20% of all people say that they are doing what they do best each day. And that is a national tragedy according to strengths expert, Marcus Buckingham. For that 20% who do play consistently to their strengths, they are six times more likely to be emotionally engaged on the job and three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general. And that makes them better employees, less stressed, more passionate, more productive, and making significant, quality contributions to the organization. Everyone wins.

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Strengths & Employee Engagement

An ever-increasing number of studies are being published by reputable thought leadership engines such as the Gallup Management Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and Human Resource Management Review about the financial benefits of engagedemployees versus the risks/costs incurred by actively disengaged employees.

Engaged employees care about the future of the company and actively contribute to the company’s success.  The percentage of engaged employees in an organization is a more accurate predictive indicator of business profitability than the percentage of satisfied employees.  It is vitally important that business executives and HR professionals understand that engagement is not synonymous with satisfaction.   Dissatisfied employees can be highly engaged and working hard to further the success of the organization, while satisfied employees can be actively disengaged, subtly undermining an organization’s profitability.

' Consider the following statistics:

  • Employees with the highest level of commitment [engagement] are 87% less likely to leave the organization
  • Engaged employees are 5x less likely than non-engaged employees to have a safety incident and 7x less likely to have a lost-time safety incident
  • Engaged employees are up to 43% more productive
  • Engaged employees average 27% less absenteeism than those who are actively disengaged
  • Companies with highly engaged employees have shown an almost 52% gap in operating income over those companies with predominantly low engagement scores

Gallup has widely published that the #1 key predictive indicator (KPI) of employee engagement is the response to the following question:  “Do you get to do what you do best every day?”  Unfortunately, on average, only 29% of the American workforce responds “yes” to this question.  This disconcerting finding was an impetus for further global research to understand employee strengths and the impact of playing to strengths in the workplace.  Gallup’s research concluded that there is indeed a causal relationship between perception of playing to strengths and subsequent engagement.  Consider Gallup’s conclusions:

  • When leadership fails to focus on individual’s strengths, the odds of the employee being engaged are 9%
  • When leadership focuses on the strengths of its employees, employee engagement increases to 74%

For the above reasons, the Center for Outreach & Innovation at Northland College developed a customizable Strengths Performance Training and Coaching series.  The curriculum is based upon Marcus Buckingham and Gallup research published in The One Thing You Need to Know, Now, Discover Your Strengths, Go Put Your Strengths to Work, StrengthsFinder 2.0, Strengths Based Leadership and 12: Elements of Great Managers.  The first three modules of this training were co designed, tested and piloted in collaboration with the Customized Training Division at Alexandria Technical College.  Built upon this strong foundation, Northland College’s DeAnna Murphy and Norma Smith developed Modules 4 & 5 to help individuals and teams continue the strengths journey.  These two experiential learning training sessions incorporate the  robust  research and best practice findings published by Zenger Folkman’s The Extraordinary Leader and The Inspiring Leader, principles of Tuckman’s Stages of Team Development, and best practices gathered from Murphy and Smith’s years of experience coaching teams and individuals.


 

Strengths Performance Training: Learning Model

 

Training Modules
 
Performance Statements
 
Outcomes
         

MODULE 1:
INTRODUCTION TO STRENGTHS

(4 hours)
  Participants will:
  • Recognize the relationship between effective individual/team performance, and focusing on strengths.
  • Reduce wasted time and energy focusing on areas of weakness.
  • Become aware of, and begin to articulate their own, and others’, areas of talent.
  • Increase their engagement by leveraging the power of their passion, in the development of their strengths.
 
  • Improved personal productivity by learning where to leverage the greatest potential for growth and excellence.
  • Increased employee engagement
  • Greater respect for differences
  • Increased ability to work with others
  • Greater confidence
         
         

MODULE 2:
DISCOVER INDIVIDUAL TALENT

(4 hours)
 

Participants will:

  • Become aware of, and begin to articulate their own, and others’, areas of talent.
  • Differentiate the patterns of behavior related to individual themes of talent.
  • Gain clarity about how to compliment others’ talents more effectively.
  • Demonstrate increased ability to execute effectively from their strengths.
 
  • Enhanced job satisfaction through greater self awareness.
  • Enhanced self-leadership through increased actualization of strengths.
  • Heightened employee engagement.
  • Positive shift in attitude through understanding unique characteristics of self and others.
         
         
         

MODULE 3:
DEVELOP YOUR TALENTS

(4 hours)
 

Participants will:

  • Recognize when, where, and with whom they are most able to effectively play to their strengths.
  • Create a plan of action to expand their talents into strengths, to gain near-perfect performance in service of the organizational mission and strategic objectives.
  • Identify a process for discovering and articulating strengths in others.
 
  • Greater respect for differences
  • Increased motivation
  • Clear action plan for developing key leadership strengths
  • Increased ability to communicate with and understand others who are different.
         
         

MODULE 4:
MANAGING WEAKNESSES TO CREATE STRENGTH

(4 hours)
 

Participants will:

  • Understand how to leverage weaknesses to serve team strength.
  • Recognize the kinds of weaknesses that most interfere with their ability to be effective.
  • Gain a clearer insight into their intended and unintended impact, as they apply their themes of talent.
  • Develop strategies to mitigate areas of weakness that undermine leadership effectiveness.
 
  • Decreased stress
  • Increased self awareness
  • Confident employees, who understand where they can be most effective, and where they need to lean into others’ strengths
  • Interdependence; teamwork
         
         

MODULE 5:
LEVERAGING TEAM STRENGTHS - SERIES 1

(4 hours)
 

Participants will:

  • Learn how to increase productivity and team effectiveness through leveraging team strengths.
  • Learn how to use strengths to expedite the journey from Forming and Storming as a team, to Norming and Performing.
  • Deepen their understanding of their intact work team members’ strengths, and how to more effectively maximize those strengths.
  • Begin to design their team around their strengths.
 
  • Heightened efficiency
  • More effective team functioning
  • Improved communication
  • Enhanced productivity
  • Clearer expectations
  • Decreased conflict
  • Creative problem-solving
         
         

MODULE 6:
LEVERAGING TEAM STRENGTHS - SERIES 2

(4 hours)
 

Participants will:

  • Integrate all the learning from previous modules to design the function of their team, baed on strengths
  • Create clear operating norms, leveraging strengths, in order to maximize team success
  • Examine current roles and responsibilities and identify where their strengths best match and how to make the best use of collective team strengths

 

  • Higher performaing teams
  • Clearer communication and understanding
  • Increased ability to draw out the best in others
  • Stronger employee engagement, buy-in, ownerships and personal responsibility
         
         

MODULE 7:
ENGAGEMENT 101 - 12 ELEMENTS OF GREAT MANAGERS: SERIES 1

(4 hours)
 

Participants will:

  • Understand the key elements used by great managers to sustain engagement
  • Learn how to provide appropriate recognition and praise
  • Be introduced to strength coaching as a tool to invite employee confidence and growth
 
  • Higher performaing teams
  • Clearer communication and understanding
  • Increased ability to draw out the best in others
  • Stronger employee engagement, buy-in, ownerships and personal responsibility
         
         

MODULE 8:
ENGAGEMENT 101 - 12 ELEMENTS OF GREAT MANAGERS: SERIES 2

(4 hours)
 

Participants will:

  • Understand how to individually respond to the uniqueness of each employees
  • Discover how to leverage others' strengths as a foundational key to creating and sustaining high-performing teams
  • Learn how to create employee buy-in and ownership
  • Be able to help direct reports connect their strengths and talents to the mission of the organization
 
  • Individual employee responsibility, and buy-in to the company's mission and purposes
  • Enhanced creativitiy
  • More effective listening
  • Energy and enthusiasm becomes infused into the relationships and culture of the organization
         
         

MODULE 9:
ENGAGEMENT 101 - 12 ELEMENTS OF GREAT MANAGERS: SERIES 3

(4 hours)
 

Participants will:

  • Understand the relationship bewteen strengths and achieving high quality of product
  • Leverage relationships to enhance team and organizational success
  • Recognize how to create growth and development of others in a way that is a win-win for both parties
 
  • Strong leaders with strong vision
  • Ability to balance people and things
  • Increased accountability at all levels
  • Heightened growth
  • Improved effectiveness