The self-examination question for chapter 22 of It’s a Jungle in There, asks, “Are you willing to help other people succeed even when it’s not a requirement of your job to be of assistance?” (p.165)
For many years and multiple organizations, I’ve been known as the “Interview Prepper.” Whenever someone I know is interviewing for a promotion, they schedule time with me for mock interviews and prep. I help people talk about themselves, their skills, their talents, and their drive for success. I offer constructive criticism and remind my colleagues of good examples to use from their professional projects. I delight in the success of my friends and colleagues. I also help them to pick up the pieces and try again if at first, they don’t succeed. Everything is a learning opportunity.
I can say, without a doubt, chapter 12 resonates most with the way I choose to operate as a leader. Developing and coaching others is a passion for me. I also found out a few years ago that these behaviors are classic signs of one of my top two strength roles. By using the StandOut strengths assessment I discovered, I am a pioneer/teacher. The going rate is about 15 dollars for the assessment alone, or there are companion books like StandOut 2.0 that you can buy on Amazon in e-book format for less than $15 (then, just use the code that comes with the book). This assessment is a situation judgment assessment, which means it helps define through behavioral questions how you show up to others, not necessarily how you perceive yourself. I have a 12-page report ranking my strengths, telling me about my most powerful attributes, what to watch out for, how to hone my strengths, etc.
The combined role summary for a pioneer//teacher describes me perfectly: “You take risks. With people. Not in a reckless, thoughtless way, but rather from a profound belief in their potential. And, in your view, that potential can be best realized through experiment and risk. You say “experience is the best teacher” and so you expose and encourage people to embrace stretch assignments. You put your own skin in the game too, recognizing that your own abilities are amplified when you seek opportunities to reach beyond your current comfort zone. Your world is a generous place in which people will be provided for. You, therefore, come from a place of faith, not fear. If there’s anything to fear, it’s missing opportunity’s knock.” (StandOut 2015)
The combination of my top two strengths roles is my competitive advantage. Strengths are also the completive advantage of those around us. As the owner of the company or the leader of the team, it’s our responsibility to give people the opportunity to live in those strengths.
I felt pretty powerful and validated to read that strengths summary. I do have a profound belief in the potential of others. To Schussler’s point in chapter 22, it’s important to find out about people, figure out what makes them tick, what makes them feel energized or drained and then match them with opportunities to help them be their best selves.
When you help others succeed, the whole team is better for it. The Marcus Buckingham Company (TMBC) has some compelling evidence to back-up the claim that teams who concentrate on strengths outperform non-strengths-based peers. And as for me, I’ll keep helping those around me work from their strengths, because I’ve seen how much happier and more productive we all can be when a leader cares enough about you to know what makes you tick.