Strengths-Based Leadership

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Everyone has their strengths and limitations, even while we hard to improve (hopefully) each and every day. The most effective leaders recognize their strengths and limitations and surround themselves with people who will complement their abilities, preferably by those with different sets of strengths so that they can form a more formidable team with fewer deficiencies in the leadership group, as a whole.

Traynor et al examine strengths-based leadership for pharmacists and pharmacy managers/leaders.1 They describe how discovery and application of strengths has become a foundational theme in leadership development activities. The learning process begins with building awareness and Identifying Individual talents using a strengths profile and reflecting on previous use of these talents. In an educational session, participants are encouraged to examine how professional experiences that correlate with their talents intersect and affect their knowledge and skills. They are then encouraged to utilize and maximize their talents in a team environment. Educational session participants over the years have viewed the program favorably and articulated that utilization and growth of strengths Is valuable to their career. They describe 4 criteria that define a strength. First, a person must have some ability in an activity. This can be witnessed by feelings of self-efficacy and consistent outstanding performance. Second, a person must have a natural attraction to the activity. They should feel like they cannot avoid the chance to do it over and over again. Third, while engaged in the activity, we are inquisitive and immersed. People forget to look at the clock and concentration is intense. Finally, once finished with the activity, people long to do it more and anticipate the next moment when they can repeat the activity. The strengths index described by the authors identifies the extent to which each person resonates with 34 different strengths characteristics, naming specifically the top 5, that range broadly from organization, to achievement, communication, learning, gathering people together, and sense of understanding.

Surrounding yourself with people who think just like you do and with proverbial “yes men” to satisfy your own ego will do that, and that, only; ie, satisfy your ego. But that ego will come crashing down when your team fails or you fall woefully short of achieving your goals. Using strengths leadership is but one way to hone your managerial effectiveness. There are others. It actually is quite inexpensive in time and money to conduct strengths assessment, design teams, and determine how you can leverage one another’s strengths.

Additional information about Leadership can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. If you or your institution subscribes to AccessPharmacy, use or create your MyAccess Profile to sign-in to Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.

 

1Traynor AP, Janke KK, Sorensen TD. Using personal strengths with intention in pharmacy: Implications for pharmacists, managers, and leaders. Ann Pharmaco. 2010;44:367-376.  

Shane Desselle

Professor of Social and Behavioral Pharmacy, Touro University California

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Go to the profile of Shane Desselle
6 months ago

When participating in a strengths based activity in the past, what has surprised you the most?