In this book, the authors Tom Rath and Barry Conchie examine the question “What are the keys to being an effective leader?” To answer this question they had a team that reviewed data collected from Gallup polls. The data came from interviews from 20,000 senior leaders, over a million teams and more than fifty years of Gallup Polls of the most admired leaders in the world. The authors then had the team do a study of more than 10,000 followers to find out why they follow the influential leaders in their life.
They found three key things in the research. These are, first, investing in strengths, second, surrounding themselves with the right people while maximizing their team and third, understanding their followers’ needs.
First when a leader focuses on the strengths of the employees the odds of the employee being engaged will increase dramatically. This compares to chapter one of our text book in that it says an effective leader is one who helps group members attain productivity. The second key is that the most effective leaders surround themselves with the right people and maximize their team. The book suggest when leaders try to be good at everything they will not be great at anything. Although it is often preached to be well-rounded this results in mediocrity. So instead trying to be good at everything, find and know your strengths and hone those skills to be a more effective leader. The authors say there are four domains of leadership with thirty-four themes that break-down under the domains and these explain the actual strengths of the leader. The domains are executing, influencing, relationship building and strategic thinking. In our text book all but influencing are listed as one of the ten roles of leadership. Some of the ten roles in the text book would be categorized as one of the thirty-four themes. For example, negotiator would fall under relationship building and technical problem solver would be under strategic thinking. The themes are actually the strengths of the individual leader.
In the second key maximizing your team, the book suggests although you should hone your leadership strengths in particular areas, you need diverse people to have a well-rounded team. When a leader picks team members whose strengths and ways of thinking are like their own the team is not as effective. This can lead to stagnation within that team which can result in less creativity and keep the organization from growing. When they interviewed Phil Cordell, President of the Hampton hotel chain, they found that when he wanted to make a major international expansion, he needed to revamp his team. The team members were loyal to the brand but when there was conflict they always went to him to resolve the issues. This eroded the trust amongst colleagues. He had each member of the team do a strengths finder test and he reviewed them. He was able to determine...