Not yet a Member?
HR Magazine is highlighting the next generation of HR leaders.
Is your employee handbook ready for the New Year? With SHRM’s Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
30+ HR education programs, including 4 NEW programs on hot topics, are available for registration.
Join us in Chicago for the latest trends and technology in talent management, and what to expect in the future.
SAN DIEGO—Marcus Buckingham wants you to get the best work from your employees. But that might mean trashing everything you thought you knew about managing them.
A leadership expert and best-selling author of several books, including First, Break All the Rules (Simon & Schuster, 1999) Buckingham urged his audience to quit obsessing about their employees’ weaknesses, as well as their own. Instead, he implored, shift the focus toward strengths.
“We misunderstand where the opportunity lies,” he lamented June 30, 2010, during the closing general session of the Society for Human Resource Management’s 62nd Annual Conference & Exposition. “We’re living in a remedial society [but] you have the greatest opportunity to grow and develop with your strengths.”
Buckingham dissed the conventional wisdom—particularly prevalent in HR circles—that weaknesses are opportunities.
“Call a weakness what it is. It’s an activity that weakens you, even if you’re good at it.”
A pioneer of so-called “strength-based management,” he urged managers to apply the same rule to themselves. But first, he said, you must be honest about what makes you weak and apply “strategies for managing around it.”
His recommended strategy for “managing around” weakness conveniently forms the acronym “STOP”:
“The moment you start focusing on strengths, you immediately focus on performance,” he said.
Of course everyone has some duties they can’t get out of. And for those, he adds a final “S-word” to his neat little acronym. “Suck it up,” he advised.
Buckingham shared how he follows his own counsel. A former Gallup researcher, he knows he enjoys and is good at interviewing people. On the other hand, he loathes mingling with strangers at cocktail parties, even though it’s part of his job and helps boost book sales. To make the task more enjoyable, he pretends his brief cocktail party chats are interviews.
The affable Brit devoted a portion of his 45-minute presentation to distinguishing management from leadership. While it’s the manager’s job to figure out what makes people unique and capitalize on that, leaders are charged with bringing people together.
“Leaders find what we all have in common,” he said.
The best leaders, he said, will address the commonly held fear of the unknown, providing clear and specific answers to such leading questions as:
Rita Zeidner is a senior writer for HR Magazine.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Your session has expired. Please log in again before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Join SHRM's exclusive peer-to-peer social network
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 3,200 companies