The Strengths Focussed Guide to Leadership by Mike Roarty and Kathy Toogood
Identify your talents and get the most from your people
This book is designed as a toolkit for leaders who want to get the most out of the jobs that they do, by maximising the possibility of doing what they love doing, what they are good at and what makes for success. It’s a practical guide which has the possibility to radically change how leaders think and behave. Not surprisingly, given the title, underpinning all of this is a focus on strengths.
I have always been a fan of a strengths-based approach to development and so this book resonates with me. It’s crazy that organisations have competency models where everybody is expected to be good at everything. It is inevitable that people focus on low scores and not on the things they do well. I love the quote in the book from Albert Einstein “everybody is a genius. If you judge a fish fights ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”
The book is well structured and easy to read; either end-to-end or just by dipping in. Each chapter starts with the learning points and contains practical exercises people can try in order to make change happen. Core to it is a model: MORE. This stands for Myself, Others, Regular conversations and Employee processes. It’s about developing your own strengths, supporting others to do the same, building a strengths focus into everyday conversations and ensuring the same approach is embedded into all the employee processes.
I enjoyed the focus on the leader being responsible for encouraging others to also have a strengths-based approach; there is a great exercise a leader can use with their teams to introduce the topic. If implemented well, and combined with the last element of the model, the processes, this should truly lead to transformations in the world of work. These changes are essential for organisations to survive.