This is the third article in our series entitled Managers: The Good and the Bad.
Fortunately, there are some very good managers in this world and one of them is the Strength Finder. I can’t imagine a better person to work for, simply because it is in their nature to find the best that each individual has to give and then find ways to help them grow and use their talents.
I confess that one of my current intellectual and professional pursuits is in understanding how a person’s strengths relate to his/her temperament (MBTI or Kiersey range). The tool of choice for me is the Clifton StrengthsFinder test which was originally distributed with Marcus Buckingham’s book Now, Discover Your Strengths. It is still available for a reasonable fee if purchased in bulk and is also available in single purchase form in Tom Rath’s StrengthsFinder 2.0 book.
Characteristics of Strength Finders
|MBTI Range:||NF (iNtuitive + Feeling)|
|How to Spot:||There are several things to watch for:|
|Reason(s) to Hire:|
I’m ready to quit my day job (and perhaps one of my night jobs) and go find a Strength Finder to work for.
- If Strength Finders are indeed such great team builders, where are they? At most, 10% of the managers I’ve encountered could be considered Strength Finders.
- Are there certain personalities that don’t thrive under the management of Strength Finders?
Commentary on “Managers: The Strength Finder”
Like Jeff, my favorite manager type is the Strength Finder. I appreciate when a manager takes the time at the beginning of their tenure to get to know each team member and truly identify his or her strengths or talents. Strength Finders who excel at this are constantly learning about their team members and are also constantly learning about themselves. This constant learning helps in building trust on the team and allows a dialog with all team members that is authentic and empathetic.
Unfortunately, the relentless crush to get things done and the incredibly short timelines force the “get to know you phase” to a superficial understanding. Manager-team member meetings turn from listening about “how you tick” to inquiring about “how are you going to meet the deadline” , so the empathetic conversation often gets lost. The Strength Finder is stressed and resorts to making assumptions about people’s talents instead of taking the time to observe and listen for the talents that get overlooked. So it may appear that there are fewer Strength Finder managers in the world, although there are many Strength Finder managers that are just plain frustrated.
The other hurdle for the Strength Finder Manager is remote teams, where it’s a bit harder to have a conversation about your strengths when you are not face-to-face. Most of the Strength Finders that I’ve encountered thrive on face-to-face contact to constantly check-in and give positive feedback to their team members on a job well done. This is an important component to Strength Finders: always learning about their team members. So the challenge is to find a way to learn when you are in remote locations!
I do believe that there is a large group of people that once they find a Strength Finder manager, they don’t want to lose this type of leadership. They enjoy having the dialog, look forward to the affirmations when a job is well done, and appreciate the sincerity of their manager. Jeff, it looks like you are one of those people that thrives with this kind of manager.
There are some who think all the talk is a waste of time and the affirmations are trite. In my experience, these are those who are extremely task and goal oriented who just want to “get it done” as fast as possible. Dialoging seems like a waste of time to them. Team building and development are an even bigger waste of their time. Their recourse is to find a team and a manager who has a similar mindset.
The other personality that may not thrive with a Strength Finder Manager is a high, high introvert. I’ve encountered several ultra high introverts in my career and they just don’t feel comfortable disclosing their thoughts and feelings.
When I wrote about this particular manager archetype, I wasn’t thinking at all about remote management opportunities and challenges. But the point you bring up, Mary Ellyn, about the tendency for the Strength Finder to want to operate on a face-to-face level DOES resonate with me. I find myself wandering back in time to when I was managing larger teams, a portion of which were working offsite (and offshore).
Here’s what I’ve come up with…
IFF the ratio of offshore/offsite to onshore/local resources on a particular team was LOW; that is, if a team was comprised of a much larger number of local resources than remote; then I felt a greater ability to use my own Strength Finder skills for all members of the team, although I don’t recall deciding this at a conscious level.
This conversation reminds me that our innovation group is interested in discussing the “2020 Workplace” in round-table fashion. What better way to start such a discussion?
I still think the preference for Strength Finders is face to face. I have seen and experienced “Strength Finders” work well with remote collaboration as well as horribly fail. I have experienced the non-engaging teleconference and the blah videoconference where a “Strength Finder” was leading the meeting. In these cases, the technology got into the way instead of allowing true collaboration to happen.
In these instances, I think having a good working knowledge of collaboration tools and how to get the most out of your talent when using them would be helpful to any sort of Leader. It amazes me that we have tools, but limited talent in using them well.