Strengths Based Leadership Blog

NURS 664:  Strengths Based Leadership Blog

Personal Leadership Profile: “To thine own self be true”

Everyone feels that they can distinguish good leadership when they see it, and there is much chatter about the topic.  But leadership is a complex set of processes, concepts and obscure terms that may at times seem difficult to execute successfully (Van Wart, 2013).  So, the question is often asked, can strong leadership skills be actually acquired? It is a challenge for those who are interested in mastering this most needed and highly sought after skill in today’s world.  As a result of globalization and other factors, more and more diverse cultures, racial and ethnic groups are coming into contact with one another.  To reconcile the challenges brought on by these differences is the task of leadership.  An effective leader can guide a group of people, an organization and society at-large to garner the power from such interactions and their differences.  As we talk about leadership, we want to know what makes an effective leader.  According to the book Strengths Based Leadership:  Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow (Rath, 2008), the three principal concepts of effective leaders are investing in strengths, surrounding themselves with the right people and then maximize their team, and understanding the needs of their followers (Rath, 2008).  To invest in strengths, one must first appropriately assess, understand what their strength are and how to effectively apply it as a leader (Rath, 2008).  As a requirement for NURS 621, DNP student leaders completed the Clifton Strengths Assessment Tool to help us see how our top five strengths fit into four domains of leadership strengths:  Executing, influencing, Relationship Building, and Strategic Thinking.  I discovered having this knowledge will be useful in creating well-rounded teams for my DNP project.  As noted by (Rath, 2008), “the most effective leaders understand their followers’ needs.”  And while the best leaders are not well-rounded, the best teams should be.”

The results showed my top five strengths fell within the domains of strategic thinking (analytical, futuristic), relationship building (positivity), and influencing (command, maximizer).  The leadership approaches most aligned with my strengths are an analytical and futuristic leader.  My trait as an analytical leader searches for reasons and causes, evaluates the situation from a thousand foot view to think through all factors that might impact a situation (Rath, 2008).  I am a visionary leader, capable of thinking outside the box, and inspired by the future and what could be.  Promoting a sense of trust, providing stability, and reasoning, as well as creating hope are key elements of the strategic theme that will help guide me as I inspire the team at the Free Clinic with the vision of the future state of my DNP project.  But I also recognize the challenges of leading with futuristic tendencies.  I have to remind myself sometimes to show patience with others on a team, as they may not find it as easy as I do to envision what things will look like in a future state.  I must listen and not get frustrated when team members take a little more to make the connection. Providing the team with clear goals and help them imagine what could be.

As a leader, possessing the traits of maximizer focusing on strengths as a strategy to stimulate personal and group excellence is complimented well with my analytical and futuristic leadership style.  I seek to transform something strong into something superb (Rath, 2008).  As the DNP project lead, employing my analytical talents to identify key skillsets and gifts each member brings to the table, and create an environment for team to maximize their potential will drive practice change and excellence in outcomes improving prediabetes screening and referral to a diabetes prevention program rates.  The relationship of these themes is supported by one of the principal concepts of effective leaders previously mentioned, “surrounding themselves with the right people and then maximize their team.” Bottom line, be smart enough leader to identify team members from managers to frontline workers with strengths and skills I may lack to balance the scale and serve as subject matter experts and influencers of change.

Another theme under the influencing domain is the command leadership style.  A leader with such trait is known to have a presence.  I am comfortable taking charge of a situation, but still capable of empowering others around me.  I am known for saying what I think, and people can take what said at face value.  This directness and transparency build trust and confidence in my leadership.  I can be firm and direct but fair when met with resistance, particularly if a quick decision is called for during time of crisis, which are strong attributes to have as a leader (Rath, 2008).  Leading with command also allows me to take on new challenges and others outside of their comfort zone, which are essential attributes for a change agent of a DNP project.  In addition, one can see how one with a futuristic and maximizer leadership style aligns with one of a command style who enjoys taking on new challenges and not fearing change in the future state, as well as promoting the best out of people to strive for excellence.

Creating a culture in which individuals at all levels of the hierarchy feels valued and appreciated promotes increased engagement and buy-in on change initiatives such as my DNP project.  As a change agent, leading with positivity illuminates enthusiasm that is contagious.  This approach can get others excited about their involvement and contribution to the project.  The positivity trait is a strength that I take great pride in.  Providing a generous amount of positive remarks that are personalized speaks volume to its’ genuineness and appreciation of others (Rath, 2008).  An environment filled with positive vibes promotes relationship building and lends itself to a more cohesive and effective team.  Considering that I am at a disadvantage because I am not a staff at the Free Clinic, I would need to join forces with team members who possess strengths in relationship building, influencing, and executing as my representative in my absence for the continued success of my DNP project.

 

References

Rath, T. (2008). Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow.

 New York, NY: Gallup Press.

Van Wart, M. (2013). Lessons from Leadership Theory and the Contemporary Challenges of

Leaders. Public Administration Review, 73(4), 553–565.

https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1111/puar.12069

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Strengths Based Leadership Blog

  • July 5, 2021 at 12:20 am
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    Natalia:
    Thank you for sharing such an interesting perspective! After taking my own testing, I find it interesting to see how others test resulted and compare and contrast. One thing about your test that stood out to me was that you build relationships through positivity and thinking domain is analytical and futuristic. These are so important as I suspect these greatly contribute to the Followers’ Four Basic Needs of trust, compassion, stability and hope (Rath et al., 2008). I suspect that as you are positive but analytical, trust between you and your followers may come naturally. Not only is this important for team building and moral, but as stated by Rath et al., (2008), you are not starting from zero each time, you have a foundation and therefore can start working toward the goal faster. This may also lead to the component of compassion, as having rapport with your team may help them understand you care.
    As you are futuristic thinking and analytical, this will provide stability and hope within your team. As previously examined, if they trust you, and you are able to evaluate problems, be positive and think ahead, these are attributes that will keep your team productive and fulfilled.

    Rath, T. & Conchie, B. (2008). Strengths based leadership: Great leaders, teams, and why we follow them. New York, NY: Gallup.

    • January 27, 2022 at 2:30 am
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      Thanks for taking time out to read my post. I tend to believe that i am fortunate to getting along with others easily and have the ability to bring people together to get the job done.

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