C. Keith Ray

C. Keith Ray writes about and develops software in multiple platforms and languages, including iOS® and Macintosh®.
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Friday, March 27, 2015

Strengths and Management

(Originally posted 2003.Jun.15 Sun; links may have expired.)

I just read Now Discover Your Strengths by Buckingham and Clifton, and I'm currently reading First, Break All the Rules by Buckingham and Coffman. The books are based on extensive data collection and analysis by Gallup.

The point of First, Break All the Rules is that great managers treat each of their employees as unique individuals, encouraging their strengths, and working-around (rather than fixing) their weaknesses. The "rules" to be broken are "treat everyone the same" and "concentrate on fixing flaws".

Gallup has evidence that good managers are the primary reason for employee job-satisfaction, and poor managers are a primary reason for employees leaving a company. Managers are also a primary reason for productivity and profits (or losses) at the worker level. Of the Twelve Questions that measure employee satisfaction, the top five are directly related to how managers work with their employees.
  1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
  2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
  3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
  4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
  5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
Now Discover Your Strengths identifies thirty-four "themes" or basic strengths (which I'll call "StrengthFinder types") that people have in varying degrees, and provides an on-line test to find your top five strengths. It says that the strength that managers must have to be good managers is "Individualization," which is the natural ability to observe and identify people's strengths, style, motivation, and other unique qualities. Ironically, in a book about 34 generalized "types", it says that people with the talent for "Individualization" are impatient with generalizations and "types."

Unlike MBTI, the StrengthsFinder types are not pairs of opposites. Both type systems can help people who are not strong in Individualization to learn to see people as different from each other. There's probably some statistically-relevant relationships between MBTI types and StrengthsFinder types, but I'm not aware of any documentation on that yet.

This link explains the 34 types and give advice to students with those strengths

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