Rethinking Strength-Based Leadership

Gallup’s research, StrengthsFinder and countless studies have validated the importance of strength-based leadership. It makes intuitive sense that a leader should focus on maximizing on her strengths while managing her weaknesses. This approach should lead to a leader’s greatest return on investment and contribution.

However, there are often nuances or exceptions to the rule. Let me share four:

1. Beware of Shadows – Strengths often come with a shadow side. The apostle Peter had the strengths of being bold, forthright and action oriented. The shadow side was acting or speaking too quickly and sometimes missing Jesus’ way.

What are some of your strengths and the potential shadow sides?

2. Look to Develop a Complementary Strength – A technical expert has a powerful and wonderful strength. However, that strength might be hidden because the expert isn’t a strong communicator. You may have experienced this communication gap with a teacher or professor in the past. In this case, instead of adding more knowledge and expertise, the technical expert should seek to grow the strength of communication.

What complementary strength could add greater impact for your primary strength?

Reliance on your strengths can draw you away from dependence on God. Share on X

3. Strengths Can Reduce Dependence on God – When you serve from your strengths, you can easily find yourself on automatic pilot. You can feel self-sufficient. If you are not wary, your reliance on your strengths can draw you away from dependence on God.

When and where might you be relying on your strengths rather than depending on God?

4. God Can Turn Weaknesses into Strengths – God delights in redeeming weaknesses for His purposes and glory. For example, He calls together a ragtag group of unimpressive disciples and uses them to launch a world-changing global mission.

God delights in redeeming weaknesses for His purposes and glory. Share on X

In the case of the “thorn” in Paul’s flesh, Jesus says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). In God’s upside-down Kingdom economy, when we are weak, we are strong.

What apparent weaknesses in your life might God be seeking to redeem and leverage for His glory?

Cheering you on to Lead Different,

Dr. Steve A. Brown
President, Arrow Leadership

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