In the February issue of Harvard Business Review, Leadership Consultants Robert Kaplan and Robert Kaiser argue that although encouraging leaders to focus on their strengths may be a ‘reasonable approach’, it can be taken too far. This issue may be particularly prevalent where leaders rely on feedback in the form of 5 point rating scales. The final report may highlight one of their strengths as consensus building, for example, which when over-done can lead to procrastination and inaction.
Such objective measurement tools, particularly in relation to understanding strengths, appear to only provide part of the picture. Better then to ensure that data on strengths is supported by evidence found in past achievements and verbal peer feedback. A ‘strength’ that doesn’t help deliver a positive outcome and that is not valued by others, may not be considered a strength at all?