A Two-Part Team Exercise that Shifts Focus and Elevates Performance

Lousy leaders focus on what’s wrong with you.

4 lousy-leader-behaviors:

#1. Lousy leaders obsess over people’s flaws and weaknesses.

#2. Lousy leaders complain about the wrong people.

Under-performing leaders complain about others. But nothing changes until you focus on your performance first.

What can you do to help bring out the best in others? Leaders own their own performance AND the performance of their team. Blaming is self-justification. Leadership is taking responsibility.

Turn your complaining tongue on yourself if you enjoy complaining about others.

#3. Lousy leaders talk to you when things go wrong, but ignore you when things go right.

#4. Lousy leaders know what you suck at, but don’t know your strengths.

A team exercise that shifts focus:

Part one:

I recently asked a team to list the top three strengths of the 13 people around the table. People felt affirmed and energized. Some were delighted that their colleagues saw them so clearly. There were a few surprises, but not many.

Part two:

Part two of the exercise centers on elevating performance through the lens of strengths.

Stop trying to fix weaknesses. Focus on maximizing strengths. Stop obsessing on things people don’t do well and start concentrating on things they do well.

Consider a team member’s strengths and ask:

  1. What jobs would you assign to a person with these top three strengths?
  2. What tasks might cause this person to stumble or perform poorly?
  3. How might you maximize this person’s strengths?
  4. What weaknesses might come with these strengths? What would you like to do about that?
  5. How might you energize a person who has this set of strengths? De-energize?

Note: Dealing with problem behaviors is necessary. Let’s save that for another day.

What questions on the above list do you find most useful?

What questions would you add to the above list?

Bonus material:

Global Study: ROI for Strengths-Based Development (Gallup)

Why You Should Stop Wasting Time Trying to Improve Your Weaknesses (Inc)