Wanna Lead? Be Vivid! | HR Fishbowl


If you missed the SHRM 2010 Annual Conference and Exposition closing session with Marcus Buckingham, you pretty much missed the SHRM 2010 Annual Conference and Exposition. There was a lot of good content this week, but Marcus really capped it all off. His presentation dripped of relevant, thought provoking, and inspirational insights for the very person this HR conference is all about – the HR Generalist (roughly 60% of attendees hold this role). And he keeps it so damn simple that one can only wonder why they didn’t figure it all out on their own. His years and years of hands-on in-the-trenches research and experience make what he has to say pragmatic…and believable.

On Performance Management…

  • A strength is an activity that makes you feel strong and a weakness is something that makes you feel weak. They are not necessarily what you are good or bad at.
  • Stop spending so much time on trying to fix your employees’ weaknesses. Start figuring out how to simply work around them by growing and leveraging their strengths.
  • Your people will learn more and get better at what they learn best. Figure out what they learn best and then throw your energies there.
  • Your people’s strengths are the real opportunities for development; stop talking about weaknesses as opportunities…they are merely opportunities for diminishing returns.
  • Ask your people (use your annual survey, whatever) how much of their day they actually spend on playing to their strengths. It will most likely frighten you (according to Marcus, only 14% of employees actually feel like they leverage their strengths most of the day). What a waste!

On Leadership…

  • The real challenge for today’s leaders is to “rally people to a better future.” True leaders can’t do this without being visibly optimistic about that future.
  • Help your people navigate their fear of the unknown: be clear, specific, concise, and focused. Don’t be afraid to be wrong, or to change your position. But have a position that everybody knows and understands.
  • Be very clear on: who your organization serves; what your core strengths are; what the score is; what specific actions can be taken today!
  • Do more of this and your people will no longer be ambivalent to following you and your organization’s weaknesses will become irrelevant.

What the hell more can I say about that?!

Photo Credit: Purdue U.

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