Without knowing it then, I guess I was blessed in my teen years with some managers and bosses who knew to get the most out of an employee you must focus on his/her strengths. A person grows under those leaders. I also remember a couple bosses who had a behavior pattern of focusing on a person’s weakness. Those latter jobs were no fun, they were completely draining and even demoralizing. I didn’t stay at those jobs long. Turnover was very high.
I have since learned that bosses/managers who focus on people’s weaknesses have one or two reasons for this behavior. 1) The need to feel superior, so no matter how good an employee produces, the negative is always going to come out of his/her boss. Or 2) This is the only type of leadership he/she as ever witnessed. So this is the only way to lead they know. Focusing on people’s weaknesses will never, generate productivity.
The Gallup Organization popularized the strengths based development for managing performance, but it has been around for several decades prior to the 21st century. Some of my early managers were living proof. Even before it was known as a strategy, it has been practiced for centuries.
Even Peter Drucker introduced it in his writings and teachings as the fourth evidence of an Effective Executive prior to 1980. Drucker considered it “leveraging strengths—your own strengths and the strengths of those around you—to achieve results.”
Drucker taught and I agree that focusing on weaknesses only weakens the drive of the organization. The purpose of any organization should be to convert the strengths of each member/employee into results oriented performance. As you help people maximize their strengths they will grow to bring not only better productivity, you are helping them to grow as a person and potential leader. Drucker says, “…morally, managers (leaders) owe it to the organization to maximize the strength of every employee, and to employees to enable them to excel to his/her greatest extent possible.”
Gallup says through 40 plus years of research shows that when employers focus on workers’ strengths rather than trying to fix weaknesses, they have better employee engagement, better performance, higher retention rates, greater customer satisfaction, and profitability. With those results, why would anyone want to focus on the weaknesses?
Feel free to contact me for free resources and more on how you can help your church/organization focusing on strengths. You might be surprised at how a few small extra tweaks can thrust the productivity of your organization/church.