How to Motivate Your Team With Strengths-Based Leadership

Have you ever had a boss who truly lifted you, helping you achieve greater heights in your career?

Did this motivate you because you felt valued, important and appreciated?

“The best leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders” (Robyn Benincasa, “6 Leadership Styles and When You Should Use Them, Fast company).

They support, nurture and develop every member of their team. They allow and encourage different leaders to emerge based on their own individual strengths.

Imagine you have a team member who proactively attends networking events in their own time and has built a solid professional network. Connecting and building relationships is clearly one of their strengths. Yet, you assign that person repetitive, menial tasks such as updating your accounting records or chasing after unpaid invoices. Wouldn’t this person be better suited to tasks where they can interact with your clients and build those relationships to grow your business?

Many successful companies have embraced the strengths-based leadership approach when it comes to hiring or assigning tasks. Facebook is one such company. They have been known to hire candidates without a specific role in mind. Allowing them to match that person’s skills with a job or project of interest.

Strengths-based leadership is a powerful approach that any company, small or large, can adopt.

The results are twofold: 1) for your team members, it makes them feel important and appreciated; one of the most effective intrinsic motivators you can create, and 2) for your company, if your workforce is motivated, productivity goes up as well as job satisfaction and a positive team spirit.

This is undeniably a win-win situation for all involved.

How do you start using strengths-based leadership to motivate your team? There are three effective steps you can implement.

Step 1: Talk with each team member and ask them what their favorite project or task is/was. Ask them why they enjoy/ed that particular project or task. These short conversations will give you clues to help you identify the skills that person enjoys using the most and the tasks that motivate them the most.

Step 2: Use strengths-based tools or assessments to help you better identify the strengths each team member has. There are a range of strengths tools you can access. StrengthsFinder is a popular choice. There are also free options available such as VIACharacter. These tools will give you a deeper insight into the strengths each team member has. You can make this into a fun activity and don’t forget to try it yourself. You might discover leadership strengths you didn’t know you had.

Step 3: Publicly recognise the strengths and contribution each person makes. This is a very important step. In your weekly meetings, acknowledge and congratulate team members on the skills they’ve used in the past week. Tell them how those strengths have helped achieve a particular goal. This will help that person see the impact they’ve had on a certain project and understand why they’re an integral part of your team. This is a sure-fire way to make every team member feel important and appreciated. It not only motivates them but it also helps build trust.

Trust is one of the most important things any leader can establish. It’s an in-depth topic to be discussed in the next article.

If these three steps have helped you with your team development, let me know how in the comment section below.

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About Kara

Kara Ronin is an international business etiquette expert and founder of Executive Impressions. Kara’s advice and unique perspectives have been featured in Time Inc., Business Insider India, Ignites Europe (a Financial Times Service), The Daily Muse, Women 2.0, and more. Kara offers corporate seminars and online training programs on business etiquette, leadership skills, and executive communication around the world. Get Kara's insights delivered straight to your inbox