Identify what type of leader you are in order to use your strengths to your advantage.
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People lead in different ways. When it comes to leadership, variety is actually a good thing! Drawing from studies of more than one million work teams and in-depth interviews with more than 20,000 leaders and 10,000 followers, Tom Rath and Barry Conchie identify four distinct domains of leadership in their book Strengths Based Leadership.

The Four Domains of Leadership Strength

When the Gallup team looked at all the data they had gathered from research and interviews, four distinct domains of leadership strength emerged. Below is a breakdown of the four categories and the qualities each domain exhibits:

Those with strengths in the Executing domain:

• Know how to make things happen.
• Have the ability to "catch" an idea and make it a reality.

After writing her senior thesis on educational inequality in 1988, Wendy Kopp wrote a letter to President George W. Bush suggesting they create a national teacher corps in order to address the issue. When she didn't hear back from the White House, she decided to start fixing the problem herself. By 1990, she had raised $2.5 million, recruited 500 members, and built an organization from scratch. This is how Teach for America was born.


Those with strengths in the Influencing domain:

• Help the team reach a much broader audience.
• Are always selling the team's ideas inside and outside the organization.

When Simon Cooper became the president of the Ritz-Carlton in 2001, it was infinitely clear that he had influence. He started the fastest growing segment of the business, private residences and fractional ownership. By focusing on growth and global expansion, Cooper doubled the total number of Ritz-Carlton properties in just seven years.

Those with strengths in the Relationship Building domain:

• Are the essential glue that holds the team together.
• Have the unique ability to create groups and organizations that are much greater than the sum of their parts.

Standard Chartered Bank thrived under Mervyn Davies' leadership due to his candid approach to communication. This helped him form relationships with shareholders, business partners, customers, and employees alike. Davies' initiatives set Standard Chartered up to be one of the only banks that was able to grow during the economic recession of 2008.


Those with strengths in the Strategic Thinking domain:

• Always have the future in mind and keep the team focused on what could be.
• Are constantly absorbing and analyzing information to help the team make better decisions.

As the president of Best Buy, Brad Anderson constantly searched for new ideas and challenged conventional wisdom. He introduced a shocking new sales strategy — eliminating commission-based incentives so customers could enjoy browsing in peace. He helped create unprecedented growth for the company and revolutionized the retail sales model.


A strong, efficient, and cohesive team has representation in all four categories of leadership. Members of the best team complement one another by bringing different skill sets to the table.

Why Do People Follow the Leader?

Gallup conducted additional research to find out why people choose to follow a leader. They asked over 10,000 followers what they looked for in a leader. What they found was that followers have a very clear picture of what they want and need from the most positively influential leaders in their lives: trust, compassion, stability, and hope.

Trust: Employees are much more likely to be engaged at work when they trust their leaders.

Compassion: Companies with compassionate leaders have higher retention rates and their employees are more productive.

Stability: Stability and confidence are critical for organizations and their people to evolve and grow.

Hope: Rather than reacting to daily needs, leaders need to initiate for the future in order to keep employees confident and motivated.

Start Now: Leverage Strengths

Challenge #1
Which leadership type do you identify with the most? Do you see evidence of the other three leadership types among your peers? If not, brainstorm ways to make your team more well-rounded.

Challenge #2
Invest in your employees' strengths rather than dwelling on their weaknesses. Have the entire company take the StrengthsFinder assessment.

Challenge #3
Write down three ways you can meet each of the four followers' needs: trust, compassion, stability, and hope. Then implement them with your staff.


     Tony DiCostanzo
     President of BookPal

P.S. Did you know this book comes with a free StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment? You and your employees need to take this quiz to know your strengths.

Copyright © 2018 BookPal, LLC, All rights reserved.

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