Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Brooklin Nash from TrustRadius. His opinions are his own.
There are no two ways about it: managing teams is hard. With personalities as well as professional differences at play, it can be extremely difficult to get teams on the same page – let alone get them working productively toward the same goal.
It’s hard, but it’s not impossible. No matter what the industry, those working in project management can take active steps to improve both their management style and the efficiency of their team. Leaders can assess project management approaches to determine what will work best for their context and their team. One of these approaches is strength-based management. It’s a leadership style with over 30 years of research support, so it certainly warrants a closer look.
In this definitive guide to strength-based management, we answer all of your major questions about the leadership approach:
The answers to these questions will help you get started on taking a new approach to managing your team – and to the whole idea of leadership!
Strength-based management looks to fill the gap between employees feeling recognized and working productively. The focus of strength-based management is in the name: the management approach focuses on the strengths of employees and team members, above everything else.
There are three essential parts of effective strength-based management:
In a phrase, strength-based management equips individuals to be more effective and satisfied in their work by recognizing and acting on their strengths.
The concept of strength-based management is simple enough, but what does it actually look like in practice?
“The simple truth is that if we stop trying to ‘fix’ our employees and rather focus on their strengths and their passions, we can create a fervent army of brand evangelists who, when empowered, could take our brand and our products to a whole new level.” ~ Ekaterina Walter, writing for Forbes Magazine.
In addition to the three foundational aspects of effective strength-based leaders, the strength-based management style begins with four essential building blocks – the ABCD of strengths based leadership.
The “ABCD” of strength-based management isn’t just a catchy acronym with some good ideas. It relays the building blocks of what it means to construct a healthy and productive team. As a result, it also communicates what steps can be taken to become a good manager. Not many of these steps will come naturally to the average manager – so how can leaders use strength-based management in practice?
As mentioned above, a shift to strength-based management cannot necessarily be achieved overnight. But managers can choose to take smaller steps that transition both the team and the leader into a strength-based approach to management.
The most important part of putting strength-based management into practice is using the leadership style to inform how we interact with the people that we work with – and the people that work for us. Using a strengths approach means highlighting service, team interaction, and support. One study highlights a few key strength-based principles that managers can start to use in practice:
Using these principles in practice, a strength-based leader will have a majority of the following traits:
The goal of any management approach should be to improve team efficiency and engagement. Strength-based management takes a unique approach to this, placing importance on individual and team empowerment and expecting efficiency to follow. By creating a strong team culture, leaders can expect effective teams.
But strength-based management is about more than just good ideas or good intentions. It means taking action on your strengths, evaluating your weaknesses, and leading by example as a manager. If you are new to strength-based management, it is not an approach that can be achieved overnight. But using this definitive guide is a great starting point for ensuring a healthier and more productive team.
Once the foundation is established, managers can utilize project management software. Software reviews from real users on TrustRadius can help you to find out the best tools to highlight and harness the individual strengths of your team members to accomplish a more productive workflow and successful project.
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