As a fan of self-improvement (and a borderline hoarder), I appreciate the plethora of books and resources available that tempt us with the promise of revealing the secrets of being a better leader, manager or person. I have waded my way through vast amounts of texts, assessments and ideas including a sojourn into the “No Bad Dogs!” philosophy of training dogs “the Woodhouse Way”. Although I am canine free, the thought that the dog itself was not bad, just the training was bad was a highly appealing and I perceived highly transferable concept to my toxic workplace at the time. Which it sadly was not.

In short – if you have a path to being a better leader… I will consider it.  I am in complete agreement that with continued effort to progress, skills can be learned and knowledge can be obtained to improve performance in one’s career. This factual belief is what drove my quest to consider the variety of wonderful options and what I found, tried and true, was the Gallup StrengthsFinder (SF) Assessment. The difference in the StrengthsFinder is that it identifies talent that exists naturally within a person and supports the idea that aligning efforts to increase skills and knowledge with your natural and unique talents will create a platform of strengths that provide the greatest opportunity for success and excellence that you have.

Successful leaders amplify their strengths and manage their weaknesses. While a person may be good at many things you are only really great at a few things. Self-aware leaders know the few things that they are great at and are constantly working on improving on these few key strengths while partnering with others whose strengths compliment – not duplicate- their own. Talents are innate and cannot be learned – however gaining Talent Intelligence (TI) and clarity about where to best focus efforts, enables an individual to identify roles and positions that are well-matched to their innate talents, and can provide the greatest opportunity to achieve superior performance and personal satisfaction.

The Woodhouse Way demands obedience – the Gallup SF path provides leaders the opportunity to accept the responsibility to develop themselves and to express their own unique vision, purpose and values.

Michelle Smirnoff

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