Strengths based leadership pdf

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Editorial Reviews. From the Publisher. A unique access code (enclosed in the back of this Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow - Kindle edition by Tom Rath, Gallup Press. Download it once and read it. Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow [ Tom Rath, Barry Conchie] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. In Strengths Based Leadership, #1 New York Times bestselling author Tom Rath and renowned leadership consultant Barry Conchie reveal the results of this.

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Strengths-Based Leadership - Leadership Training From You should have used a "strengths-based leadership" approach. Free download ebook [FREE] PDF Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow FOR IPAD FOR ANY DEVICE. Read [P.D.F] Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow: A Landmark Study of Great Leaders, Teams, and.

Quality was ingrained in almost every aspect of the business. As a result, Standard Chartered's employees always knew what the boss was thinking. Always give her the opportunity to explain the pattern in detail to you. Wendy Kopp kept on achieving, just as Brad Anderson continued to paint new pictures of the future. Although individuals need not be well-rounded, teams should be. To ensure fairness and promote unity, clearly communicate to others the behaviors you will and will not tolerate. This series of daunting challenges was no match for Wendy Kopp's extraordinary determination and ability to execute.

Start reading Strengths Based Leadership on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features: Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Customer images. See all customer images. Read reviews that mention access code based leadership strengths based easy read strategic thinking strengthsfinder relationship building rath and conchie great book highly recommend tom rath trust and compassion strengths-based leadership compassion and stability strengthsfinder assessment stability and hope code to take executing influencing influencing relationship building and strategic.

Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Hardcover Verified Purchase. Before I get into the review, a word of advice to all potential buyers: Unless you have already taken a StrengthsFinder quiz and know your dominant themes, you must buy this book new.

A new book comes with an exclusive one-time access code in the back that unlocks an online survey. Your unique survey results will then calculate what your strengths are, so that you can get the most value out of Strengths Based Leadership.

Research demonstrates that people tend not to utilize their natural talents, leading to frustration. Even more, most people also tend not the scale their strengths, but instead focus on scrutinizing their weaknesses.

This book makes the case that the best leaders are not, in fact, well-rounded, but maximize their innate gifts with an acute awareness of who they are and the needs of those they lead.

This book provides a general framework for effective leadership and helps you identify what your strengths are. Both books use the same formula to compute your strengths: What Strengths Based Leadership does very well is introduce you to the real leader in you and not the version of a leader formed in the image of popular culture.

This book provides tailored, specific and actionable advice on how you can lead in all areas of life. Ultimately, Strengths Based Leadership will likely be a go-to resource well into the future.

Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. The description says that you are supposed to get the code to take the strength finder assessment with the book and that the retailer will send it to you.

[FREE] PDF Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why …

This is not the case. After searching through the other product comments from other buyers, it seems as though I just wasted my money.

I need the book for a college class, so unfortunately I will be repurchasing a hard copy of the book. Amazon - how do I get my money back and why are you allowing shady suppliers to sell on your site? Buy the book from the actual website! Alternatively, if you do get it from Amazon realize that the whopping 32 dollar kindle ebook price tag is useless because you do not get the access code to save your money and buy it new. I'll be honest I really don't remember much at all about what's in this book.

The main takeaway I remember is to try and play to people's strengths, rather than trying to shore up their weaknesses. Generally speaking people prefer to play to their strengths anyway, so this results in better output and happier people.

What I do remember thoroughly is the StrengthsFinder assessment, and comparing my results to my co-workers. I found that to be highly interesting, and fairly useful for getting a relatively quick handle on what sort of personality they all had.

I took it twice about 3 months apart, and of my top 5 strengths, 2 of the original 5 were gone completely and another was downgraded significantly. The ones I related to most strongly were still present, so I don't think it's total garbage, but it's not perfect. Additionally, the test included with the book does not include any sort of ranking beyond the top 5, and it does not provide any measure of relative "magnitude" of the top 5 strengths against each other.

By that I mean, are your top-5 strengths all approximately equally representative of you, or do 1 or 2 of them show through far more strongly than the others? The test does not provide this sort of information. You can have 2 people with the same exact top 5 lists in the same order , but significantly different personalities. Consequently you kinda have to just start with the 1 strength, and slowly try to build the other 4 into your interactions, until you figure out just how strongly each of them shows through.

If you like the idea of measuring people's strengths, and trying to play to people's strengths instead of trying to shore up their weaknesses , you'll probably get value out of this. Security, strength, support, and peace.

Nothing creates stability as quickly as transparency. When a leader chooses to initiate, the very act can create hope for the future. Direction, faith, and guidance. If, as a leader, you are not creating hope and helping people see the way forward, chances are, no one else is either. Members of strong teams are as committed to their personal lives as they are to their work. Strong teams embrace diversity. Strong teams are magnets for talent. Strong teams have extreme accountability for results.

Actions John Twomey. The water heaters in the makeshift restrooms doubled as toilet paper holders. Even in , Teach For America's humble environment certainly didn't convey that of one of the most successful start-ups of the past century. And when we sat down with Kopp, it was clear that the super achiever remained in overdrive. Kopp was just days away from giving birth to her fourth child, yet she was in the midst of a full day at Teach For America.

Although in obvious discomfort, Kopp was not about to slow down. You could tell from the look in her eyes and the passion in her voice that she is never quite content with where things are today. Kopp described how hard it had been to build an organization that now has a stable - and robust - flow of funding and applicants.

She described her most fundamental challenge, quite succinctly, as "finding talent: In her own words, talent was the key element because it "solves all the other problems: What's more, in the previous year, Teach For America had more than 25, applicants and is now regarded as one of the most selective and prestigious jobs in the United States, even for Ivy League graduates.

In , one in eight Yale graduates applied for a Teach For America position. Year after year, thousands of students are now passing up six-figure salaries at high-prestige companies such as GE and Goldman Sachs to spend two years teaching in an innercity school. Yet what might be an even greater legacy are the future community leaders who emerge among Teach For America's alumni.

Many of to day's brightest young politicians, businesspeople, and school superintendents got their start in the organization that Kopp built. We interviewed a former member from Washington, D. Nevertheless, when we asked Kopp about the leadership legacy she would leave, it was clear she had yet to give the question much thought.

Perhaps she was too busy making things happen to wax philosophical. One of the more revealing questions we asked Kopp was about how she prioritizes her time. From the weekly list, she creates a daily to-do list that she follows rigorously.

As Kopp talked about how she has all of this "systematized: For her, this level of organization is natural. Kopp told us, "I couldn't exist without that - or at least 1 couldn't be doing this job without that system: When she spoke about all the children who deserve a better education, you could hear how her Responsibility theme motivates her.

As one Teach For America alumnus recounted, "Wendy conveys more than her vision for educational equity - the responsibility to do something about it. To simply be the best new teacher isn't enough. Winning for the sake of students is the only option: For Kopp, her Competition was more organizational and societal than it was personal.

She did everything in her power to ensure that the teachers her organization placed in schools were even better than the top teachers hired through the conventional system. Yet of all the leaders we have studied, Wendy Kopp may be the best example of how you can take one dominant strength, Achiever, and spend a lifetime applying it. While her organization has already reached more than three million students, it is unlikely that she will rest until children around the world have access to the education they deserve.

Whereas Wendy Kopp essentially had to create an organization from scratch, Cooper's charge was to take one of the world's greatest brands to a new level of excellence. While it's debatable which assignment had a higher degree of difficulty, Cooper clearly had the most to lose.

The Ritz-Carlton brand was already as synonymous with luxury as Kleenex is with tissue. Their employees were satisfied. Customers were engaged. Quality was ingrained in almost every aspect of the business. Expectations were sky high. According to Cooper, Schulze "walked on water" in the eyes of Ritz-Carlton's people. With this venerable brand firing on all cylinders, Cooper faced a situation in which there was almost nowhere to go but down. But nothing energizes a Maximizer more than the challenge of taking a company from great to world-class.

When you sit in a room with Cooper, you can almost feel the power exuding from his weathered skin. Born just outside of London, Cooper once sailed charter yachts for a living and played competitive rugby until he was It's still easy to see the former athlete in Cooper's stature and build.

Yet his voice and accent are as sophisticated as the brand he leads. Until you get to know Simon Cooper, this refinement seems to mask his intensity and confidence. From the moment Cooper took the helm at Ritz-Carlton in , he was determined to leave his mark.

Like many who lead with the Significance theme, the last thing he wanted to do was simply follow in the footsteps of his predecessor. As Cooper reconstructed the situation, he explained how careful he was to be clear from the outset that he was not planning to walk in someone else's shoes.

In his mind, this was the one sure kiss of death for anyone entering a new leadership role. Although his predecessor was widely revered, Cooper knew that the last thing people wanted was a pretender leading the organization. Instead of trying to remake a brand that was already at a pinnacle, Simon Cooper aimed to broadly expand RitzCarlton's global influence. He started by studying exactly what Ritz-Carlton's customers already loved, and he then sought to maximize this opportunity.

For Cooper, the key was building on the strengths of the brand. He quickly realized that none of his customers truly needed to stay at a Ritz-Carlton. They could easily frequent others properties for half the price, yet they continually returned to the Ritz. So Cooper dedicated even more of his time and attention to studying the unique experience that Ritz-Carlton created for its customers. Cooper described: People create memories, not things.

If we ask guests what color the carpet was in their guest room, they probably won't know. The real value comes from the ladies and gentlemen [employees] who bring that hotel to life.

Ten percent is the platform, but the rest is people. Perhaps this is why Cooper finds himself in his element when spending time with Ritz-Carlton's frontline employees. During his visits, one thing Cooper loves to do is ask his associates what their guests like to buy. His follow-up question is somewhat unorthodox: In a world where many guests can purchase just about anything they desire, it is the things they can't buy that create true engagement with the Ritz-Carlton brand.

Gallup's initial measures of RitzCarlton's employee engagement levels placed them in the top quartile of Gallup's worldwide database. When Gallup audited Ritz-Carlton's customer engagement, they set an even higher bar. While most of their properties are above the 95 th percentile in our customer engagement database - a level that most organizations would consider world-class - Ritz-Carlton challenged its properties to be in the 98 th to 99th percentile.

A hotel in the 96 th or 97th percentile was classified as "yellow: When it comes to a guest's engagement with the brand, Cooper and team were determined to set a new gold standard. The second major initiative Simon Cooper launched was also aimed at creating lifelong guests, albeit in a bit more direct manner. In the face of resistance, Cooper made the case for RitzCarlton to move into selling private residences and fractional ownership. When Cooper introduced this concept in , his judgment was called into question by The Wall Street Journal and others.

They wondered if placing the iconic Ritz-Carlton logo on residences and time shares would dilute the brand. But Cooper would hear nothing of it. Cooper had more than enough confidence to sell this concept to the world. As evidenced by the financial results, this went on to become one of the best business moves in the company's storied history.

When we interviewed him in , it was clear that he took even more pride in the global impact of his organization. Cooper casually talked about visits with kings and heads of state as if they were old friends. You could see how much pride Cooper took in doing little things like this to win others over.

When Cooper steps back and looks at his influence leading Ritz-Carlton, he regards it in a way that may be too big for most chief executives to get their minds around. His influence is not just about maximizing one of the world's greatest brands. Nor is it about doubling the total number of Ritz-Carlton properties in a mere seven years.

And it's not just about the records he set in profits, quality, or employee and customer engagement. Rather, Simon Cooper's talent for influencing serves the greater purpose of running an organization upon which the well-being of more than 40, families depends.

As Cooper described how the paycheck of one of his frontline employees in Asia often subsidizes the food and shelter for an entire family, you could hear his Significance theme resonate. Then when he talked of the night-and-day difference that a job at Ritz-Carlton could make for a housekeeper in the Persian Gulf, you get a sense that this is one man who realizes that he can change the world - even if that means influencing one person at a time.

With his elegantly tailored suit, wire-rimmed glasses, and athletic build, Davies resembles a polished executive right out of central casting. Yet when you speak to Mervyn Davies and study his track record, it becomes clear that he's nothing like the stereotypical chief executive.

From the day that Davies took over as CEO of Standard Chartered, a bank with more than 70, employees spread across 70 countries, he relentlessly went against the grain. While all of his competitors were emphasizing the then-lucrative markets in Europe and North America, Davies was more interested in diversifying throughout Africa, India, and the Middle East.

When other banks were investing in ways to replace people with technology, Davies wanted to invest even more time and money in developing his people.

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At almost every turn, Davies was leveraging his Relator theme to build stronger connections throughout the organization. In an era when banking CEOs were overly cautious about what they said, Davies instead opted to overcommunicate whenever possible.

And while other chief executives were focused almost exclusively on their bottom lines, Davies was just as concerned with building an organization that had "a heart and a soul. Acutely aware of his own strengths and limitations, Davies set out to surround himself with people who could do specific things much better than he ever could.

He then spent an extensive amount of time analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of people around him, mapping out how they might fit on different teams. This led to some unorthodox leadership choices early on.

Just one month into the job, Davies replaced the existing CFO, who had an extensive accounting background, with a young consultant who had no formal accounting experience. What's more, this consultant was still in his thirties. The people around Davies thought he had gone mad. Fortunately, Davies made concerted efforts to be candid and to overcommunicate about everything he was doing and why he was doing it.

This helped him quickly form relationships with key shareholders, business partners, customers, and employees. Then to communicate with his tens of thousands of employees, Davies tried a bit of everything, from videos and cartoons to countless handwritten notes of recognition. He also created more structured communication programs; he would send regular messages to his top 20, 50, and leaders.

Davies then made sure to send monthly e-mail updates to all 75, employees around the globe. As a result, Standard Chartered's employees always knew what the boss was thinking. On more than one occasion, Davies was criticized for being too open with his communication.

But this didn't quiet him. And this was not just because it was about his personal life - Davies was also widely known for helping everyone at Standard Chartered put their family first. One longtime colleague described how amazed he was that Davies took so much time from his busy schedule to be there for him during a personal crisis.

Davies' candor extended to what he described as "courageous conversations;' or more difficult topics. By his own admission, Davies could be very direct at times and described his style as having an "iron fist and velvet glove: He took ownership for his mistakes, and he talked freely about what went wrong. As a result of Davies' extraordinary openness, Standard Chartered's employees could see how much he loved the bank, and they knew that his heart was in the right place.

This created a culture in which employees took ownership over their work instead of passing along blame. It also led to an unprecedented level of trust in their CEO, as they continued to give Davies latitude when he bucked the conventional wisdom. He built trust through relationships. In , when we sat down to talk with Mervyn Davies in his London offices, he had just moved on from the CEO position to one of a non-executive chairman of Standard Chartered Bank.

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At the time of our interview, banks around the world were in a state of crisis. Almost every major financial institution was facing substantial losses. But as The New York Times and The Economist described, Mervyn Davies had set Standard Chartered up to be about the only bank in the world that was able to grow through one of the more difficult economic periods in recent history.

It was one of the few shining gems in the financial services sector. When Davies began to describe the reasons why Standard Chartered had thrived in this market, his jovial tone turned serious. As he spoke of the "real soul" and "wonderful story" of this ISO-year-old bank that originated in Calcutta, the passion in his voice turned his fair skin a few shades of red.

Davies went on to describe how he had "bet his career" early on by focusing on two key things - people and corporate social responsibility - even though many shareholders couldn't have cared less about either one at the time. So we asked him more about himself on a personal level. As he began to describe his own personality, you could tell that he was exceptionally comfortable in his own skin.

In a matter-of-fact tone, he described how, as a leader, you must "know yourself, know the people around you, and then get on with if' As simple as this may sound, Davies reported that the way he empowered people at times raised red flags.

Early on, when he delegated responsibility to employees who had the right strengths and gave them free rein, others worried that he did not have enough personal involvement in key activities. But placing trust in others to deal with areas in which they had competence freed Davies to spend the majority of his time developing talent and coaching future leaders. Davies described why he opted to use Strengths Finder and a strengths-based approach throughout Standard Chartered as part of his plans for developing people.

Davies then concluded with what could be one of the most succinct summaries of the strengths approach that weve ever heard: But one of the most telling parts of our interview was when Davies talked about the pride he takes from watching other people learn and grow. Davies then took on a more personal tone, describing how he had both of his children take Strengths Finder and how differently he had developed each of them based on their natural strengths.

It was easy to hear the passion in Davies' thick Welsh accent when he spoke of the young people he has had a chance to mentor. When we asked him to talk more about it, he replied, "I love doing that. I absolutely love it. I love listening to them and, you know, at the end of the day, I talk a lot, but I think the greatest skill you've got in management is listening: He explained that the litmus test of a great leader is "whether they can quickly write down on a piece of paper all of the people they have developed: Not only can Davies assemble a long list of the people and relationships he has invested in over his 15 years at Standard Chartered, but he also expects his people to be able to do the same.

It was clear from our conversation with Davies that he is a man who is in his element when leading people and building relationships. At one point in our discussion, Davies talked about the way people energize him even more than money.

Again, not what you might expect to hear from one of the world's most legendary banking executives. By doing things his own way, Davies not only achieved unparalleled financial results, but he also built an organization in which each of his employees could, as Davies put it, "look back on their careers and realize how much fun they had working for the bank: The building is modeled after an airport terminal with a massive connecting hub in the middle.

This hub is always abuzz with conversations and employees who look like they are genuinely having fun. The environment feels more like a student union on a college campus than a Fortune company's corporate headquarters.

At first glance, it is hard to figure out how it would be possible to create this kind of atmosphere, let alone in a company with , employees. With his round face, bright eyes, and jovial smile, Anderson certainly doesn't look the part of a chief executive. It's easier to picture him teaching a high school history class than running a shareholder meeting.

Very few people radiate this level of warmth and sincerity during an initial introduction. Frontline employees at Best Buy describe Anderson as one of the most approachable people they've met.

As much as Anderson's look and demeanor may not fit the conventional CEO mold, his actions and personality wander even farther off the beaten path. Yet over the last 25 years, Anderson took an unknown regional electronics store and helped make it into the largest consumer electronics retailer in America.

The amazing story of his career's trajectory is only overshadowed by the organization's performance during his tenure. If you look at Anderson's top five themes Ideation, Input, Learner, and Connectedness - Context, you might expect to find someone who was an exceptional student at a young age.

But he was not. Anderson struggled and had poor grades in high school. That is why it was such a surprise when Anderson, and his grades, began to thrive in college.

Once he was free to study the topics of his choice, it opened his mind to a world of endless opportunity. At the age of 24, Anderson joined Sound of Music, a small electronics retailer in Minneapolis, as a sales associate.

After a few years, he became a store manager. Anderson was then asked to join the team at its corporate office. By , the company had changed its name to "Best Buy" and had seven stores. The retailer expanded and launched several supercenters over the next few years.

By , Anderson had jOined the company's board of directors and was working very closely with the company's legendary founder, Dick Schulze.

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It was around this time that Anderson, Schulze, and a few others began to question the entire model on which electronics retailers operated: Almost every consumer electronics store paid its salespeople based on a commission of how much they sold. As a result, when customers walked into almost any music or stereo shop prior to , they were mobbed by pushy salespeople trying to close a deal.

What's worse, these commissioned sellers were usually hawking the display models that would put the most cash in their pockets, even though the televisions and stereos were not in stock. When Anderson gathered a focus group of customers and asked them which major electronics retailer they trusted, he recalled how they would simply "break into laughter: One of his early cues came from the experience that grocery stores provide, where everyone is free to browse and they know that products will be in stock.

Anderson, Schulze, and team wondered if Best Buy could follow a similar model - one that they thought would be much more likely to please the average customer.

But there were major obstacles in the way, from the way manufacturers and distributors operated to the expectations of the thousands of people in sales roles. Anderson and Schulze knew that a decision to follow this new model would send shockwaves through the entire industry. But they also had a hunch that it might be the only way for their company to survive. As Anderson later described to us, "That was a breakthrough moment, and it only happened because the company was going to go out of business if we played by the rules: Even within the company, there were many skeptics.

But when people challenged the idea, Anderson would remind them to "think about the next fifteen years, not the next five: Shortly thereafter, other consumer electronics stores and retailers in other industries followed suit.

Anderson's career continued to advance during this time of transition, and he was named Best Buy's president in From the day Anderson assumed this leadership role, it was clear he wasn't going to fit anyone's preconceived notions of a top corporate executive.

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Instead of conforming to the new role, this self-described "odd duck" decided to do things quite differently. While Wall Street analysts, among others, expected Anderson to take a more conventional approach as Best Buy's new president, that's not what he did.

Much to their consternation, Anderson would simply disappear for weeks on end in search of new ideas. Instead of poring through trade or business books, he read everything from Rolling Stone to historical biographies. Anderson attended non-electronics conferences in search of bigger ideas.

He brought in countless outside experts to challenge Best Buy's thinking. His Ideation, Input, and Learner themes were always at work. By Anderson's own admission, he challenged conventional wisdom to the point where it was "radically complained about by my peers: He quickly surrounded himself with leaders who he knew would challenge his thinking.

And he was also careful to select leaders who could effectively develop the strengths of those under their charge. When we spoke with Anderson, he described how his most senior leaders were "wildly different" from one another. Yet they found a way to accommodate each other by placing a great deal of trust in each person's unique strengths. Anderson described how he could talk passionately in an executive meeting about his ideas for the future and turn to see that he had completely lost his CFO's attention.

And in turn, when he talked about how his gifted CFO would work through spreadsheets until 8: What may be even more remarkable is the degree to which Anderson was able to stay true to his own strengths in his role as CEO. When we asked him how he was able to provide leadership for more than , Best Buy employees, Anderson described the critical role of his self-awareness and authenticity.

While Anderson may not be a natural at working a room or chatting up a store full of frontline employees, he has developed a unique way to connect with Best Buy's employees, customers, and shareholders as he travels around the world: He simply asks great questions. While studying successful leaders like Anderson, one of the most revealing items we asked leaders to respond to was: He said, "I find it amazing that 1 can be fifty-eight years old and seem to know less every day.

No matter how much you learn, it just continues to open up more substantial questions and relationships: The voracious learner, who reads several books each week, said that he found at least 28 books he wanted to take home that evening. We suspect that there are millions of Best Buy employees, customers, and shareholders who are glad that Brad Anderson let this lifelong curiosity run its course. Not bad for a guy who started at the ground level and spent the next 25 years soaring with his strengths.

If anyone of them had chosen to spend a lifetime trying to be "good enough" at everything, it's doubtful they would have made such an extraordinary impact.

Instead, they've all been wise enough to get the right strengths on their teams, and this has set up their organizations for continuous growth. Unfortunately, very few teams are truly optimized around their strengths.

As we learned from working with the top executive team at Hampton, a U. When we first met with Hampton President Phil Cordell, his company and leadership team appeared to be on the right track. With more than 1, locations, Hampton was expanding rapidly and had developed a strong consumer brand.

Cordell had a leadership team of extraordinarily talented individuals, each of whom possessed a deep passion about the organization and its brand. His team was innovative, creative, and had an impressive track record. Hampton was already well ahead of its competitors, but Cordell wanted to widen that lead. He also hoped to initiate a major international expansion. Cordell realized that what got his team to that point would not be sufficient for the future, given his ambitious goals.

But we also found a few potential land mines. Interestingly, the leadership team's loyalty to Cordell had a major drawback.

Team members continually escalated their issues to Cordell for resolution instead of working them out among themselves. This eroded trust among colleagues, and it also meant that Cordell always had to be the one to take action, thus creating a bottleneck and slowing everything down.

Unbeknownst to his team, Cordell spent the vast majority of his day in "response mode: This was not just a problem of effective delegation; the main issue was that his team members didn't have strong relationships with each other. After several discussions with Cordell, it was clear that his aggressive growth plans were going to stretch, if not break, the team. To develop a plan and lay the foundation for international growth, Cordell would need to be absent for significant amounts of time.

And the way the team was functioning, it would all but collapse if Cordell was taken out of the equation for prolonged periods. Cordell needed to build a team so strong that it would hardly skip a beat when he was gone. While some of you may be wishing that you had this kind of problem in your workplace, at Hampton, it led to a more divided than collaborative team. After conducting in -depth interviews with each member of the team, along with looking at a composite of their StrengthsFinder results, it became clear that the team needed to build stronger relationships - and do it quickly - if it wanted to establish trust and meet its ambitious growth plans.

Cordell confronted the team's problems as candidly as possible. When members began to talk openly about their challenges, Cordell bluntly said that they had miles to go in developing a "shared culture: He called the lack of trust a "deal breaker: Team members qUickly realized that they simply didn't spend enough time together; they were all getting so caught up in trying to handle day-to-day requests that they were too busy to think about the team itself, let alone the future.

They also realized that they needed much clearer expectations to maximize efficiency and avoid overlap. Even more disturbing was that most of the team members reported haVing problems balancing their workload with their family lives because the environment had become ultra-competitive. For example, Scott and Kurt, two members of the team who had a knack for building relationships, agreed to dedicate more time to helping strengthen team bonds.

Gina passionately described how she could help maximize the strengths of others, on the team and beyond, so they have clear expectations and even more room for growth.

Judy decided to leverage her ability to stimulate dialogue and ideas to keep the group focused on the future. During one group meeting, the team created "leadership brand" descriptions that detailed how they planned to leverage their strengths to help the company grow. Soon after these initial discussions, it was clear that Hampton's leadership team was headed in a very different direction. In meetings, instead of getting defensive when Gina would ask questions, the others knew she was just satisfying her need for input.

When Judy started in with a big idea, they knew it was a part of her natural instincts, instead of an annoying challenge to the way they were used to doing things.

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As a group, they agreed to discuss issues collectively before elevating anything to Cordell. In turn, Cordell committed to "knock down" problems that went to him before going through this process. Six months after these intensive discussions, the relationships, level of trust, and the leadership team as a whole were thriving. Before these conversations, the team would never have met as a group if its leader couldn't be there. From this strong foundation, the team continued to raise the bar on its own while Cordell focused more time on the international expansion.

The teams we have worked with report gaining the most from regular discussions of each person's strengths in the context of the team and its current goals.

As you can see from the Hampton leadership group's experience, whether a team has been together 15 days or 15 years, each person benefits from having a basic understanding of the others' strengths. When teams are able to use a common language of strengths, it immediately changes the conversation, creates more positive dialogue, and boosts the team's overall engagement. Gallup has been studying leadership teams for nearly four decades, and we have witnessed some telltale signs of strong, high-performing teams: Conflict doesn't destroy strong teams because strong teams focus on results.

Contrary to popular belief, the most successful teams are not the ones in which team members always agree with one another. Instead, they are often characterized by healthy debate - and at times, heated arguments. Instead of becoming more isolated during tough times, these teams actually gain strength and develop cohesion.

One reason great teams are able to grow through conflict is because they have a laser-like focus on results. Top teams seek out evidence and data and try to remain as objective as possible. As a result, while people may have different views, they are united in seeking the truth.

Team members can argue, but in the end, they are on the same side. In sharp contrast, failing teams tend to personalize disagreement, creating territorial divides that continue to grow. Strong teams prioritize what's best for organization and then move forward. Members of high-performing teams are conSistently able to put what's best for the organization ahead of their own egos.

And once a decision is made, these teams are remarkably quick to rally around it. One team we worked with had a long, drawn-out debate over whether they should invest in a major new idea. After months of intense discussion, it would have been easy for John, who technically "lost" the argument, to sit back and sulk after the decision was made.

Yet the exact opposite occurred. Members of strong teams are as committed to their personal lives as they are to their work.

The best teams we studied seemed to live a contradiction. Some of the most productive team members work extreme hours and endure amazing levels of responsibility.

They sometimes work 60 hours a week and travel frequently. Yet they consider their lives to be in balance. They seem to have enough time to do the things they want to do with their families. As hard as they work for the company, they seem to bring the same level of energy and intensity to their family, social, and community life. When we interviewed Standard Chartered's Mervyn Davies, he told us that he takes as much pride in the amount of time he spends with his wife and two children as he does in his bank's extraordinary performance.

Davies extends this philosophy to all of his bank's employees, always encouraging them to put family first. By setting this expectation, which so many others perceive as unattainable, they attract new members who want to do the same. This high level of engagement then sets a powerful example for the entire organization.

Strong teams embrace diversity. Our work with the leadership teams of some of the most innovative and successful companies in the world reveals a simple truth: Having a team composed of individuals who look at issues similarly, who have been the product of comparable educational backgrounds, and who have experiences with similar track records and approaches is not a sound basis for success.

Earlier, we outlined why leadership teams need a diversity of strengths - ideally, including individuals who demonstrate a balance of strengths in different leadership dimensions. But diversity goes well beyond team strengths. We have also discovered that the most engaged teams welcome diversity of age, gender, and race, while disengaged teams may do the opposite.

So whereas a disengaged employee is more likely to quit his job if he has a supervisor of another race, an engaged employee is less likely to leave under the same circumstances. The most engaged teams look at individuals through the lens of their natural strengths, not at physical characteristics. This keeps the team focused on the potential within each person and minimizes the influence of superficial barriers. Strong teams are magnets for talent. Another way to spot a strong team is to look for the teams that everyone wants to be on.

For some people, it may be hard to understand why anyone would want to join a team that works longer and harder and that comes complete with sky-high expectations.

This is especially true when these "it" teams are characterized by intense competition and extreme accountability for results. Yet despite all the consequences and pressure, it is your potential stars who most want to be on these teams. They see top teams as the most stimulating place to be - the place where they can demonstrate their leadership and have a real impact.

Instead of being intimidated by the challenge and responsibility, they seek out these teams.

Strengths-Based Leadership

Annan encourages the teams to "play in a coordinated manner;' but he is quick to point out that should not exclude "individual brilliance: As a result, successful teams often have an organization-wide influence.

Building a strong team requires a substantial amount of time and effort. Getting the right strengths on the team is a good starting point, but it is not enough. For a team to create sustained growth, the leader must continue to invest in each person's strengths and in building better relationships among the group members. When leaders can do this, it allows the entire team to spend even more time thinking about the needs of the people they serve.

They lead. People follow. Yet rarely do we examine why people follow. A majority of the research that has been conducted about leadership over the years - including Gallup's work in this area - could be missing one obvious point: You are a leader only if others follow.

Leaders are only as strong as the connections they make with each person in their constituency, whether they have one follower or one million. Yet we continue to focus on leaders and all but ignore their impact on, and the opinions of, the people they lead.

One problem is that we have studied leaders in isolation from the connections that make them great. As legendary investor Warren Buffett put it, by definition, "A leader is someone who can get things done through other people: If you wanted to know why the president of the United States was making a difference in the lives of the American public, would you look to him for the best answers - or would you ask his constituents?

When companies want to know why a product is popular, they ask their customers. If you want to lead, it is critical to know what the people around you need and expect from you.